Windows Central Verdict
House Flipper 2 builds upon the foundation of its predecessor, taking notable leaps in graphics and gameplay. The stories behind the quests are charming enough, and some include genuinely amusing pop culture references. The expansions to the in-game decor store are impressive, and I have a particular soft spot for including accessibility and mobility aids. I would find myself sitting down to do one quick quest, and then, before I knew it, an entire evening would be lost, flipping houses.
Major improvements to graphics and in-game decor options.
Funny references in the story.
Large town with plenty of quests of varying difficulty.
Sandbox mode adds infinite replayability and modding potential.
Some minor visual glitches.
Does not include any content from the previous game's DLC, like farms or pets.
It leans heavily into modern aesthetics and could use more options for various decor styles (traditional, mid-century modern, rustic).
Why you can trust Windows Central
In the early 2000s, I was a young mother who spent a lot of her day in a sleep-deprived daze. It was during this phase of life when I was introduced to HGTV and the onslaught of bizarre house-flipping shows. I developed a soft spot for home improvement, especially sketchy home "improvement." I'm a millennial, though, so buying and flipping houses is well beyond my reach.
That's where 2018's House Flipper from Empyrean and Frozen District came into play. The blue-collar job simulator became an outlet for creativity, giving players the keys to their very own homes and arming them with paint rollers and sledgehammers so they could renovate as they (or their customers) saw fit. I initially discovered House Flipper when it came to Xbox Game Pass, and I was instantly in love. I spent untold hours completing design challenges that would pop up in my in-game email inbox and renovating houses again just for fun and to play around with the available decor options.
So, of course, I was excited about House Flipper 2, and now I want to take you along for a ride where I tell you why you should be, too.
What is House Flipper 2?
- Release date: December 14
- Developer: Empyrean, Frozen District
- Publisher: Frozen District
- Genre: Simulator
- Players: Single-player
- Install size: 5.79 GB
- Playtime: 30+ hours
- Platforms: PC (Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 coming Spring 2024)
- Xbox Game Pass: No
- Reviewed on: Steam
House Flipper 2 is a home renovation simulator developed by Empyrean and published by Frozen District. The game is available on Steam at launch on December 14, 2023. If you're looking to jump into House Flipper 2 on console, unfortunately, you'll have to wait until March 2024.
Players can live out their Extreme Home Makeover fantasies as rookie renovators who find themselves in their childhood home with little more than a few tools and an open inbox.
The chore list starts small—cleaning up after an influencer holds a concert in their garage—but the challenges grow with the player's skills until they're busting down walls or building homes entirely from scratch in the brand-new Sandbox mode.
House Flipper 2 review: Performance and stability
My time with House Flipper 2 was relatively bug and glitch-free, though some moments had visual quirks. During a later level, there were floating segments of wall texture that were disconnected from the rest of the house. They couldn't be demolished but could be painted over. Still, they just floated weirdly above a deck. This wasn't game-breaking, but if you were the type who wanted to take before and after screenshots of your finished renovations, this bug was going to stand out noticeably.
The recommended specs for the PC version of House Flipper 2 include an AMD Ryzen 5 3rd gen or Intel Core i5 10th gen with an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070. For this review, I played House Flipper 2 on my system, which includes a Ryzen 7 5800X and RTX 3070Ti. I was able to play the game on medium-high settings, with frame rates hovering steadily around 90 to 95 frames per second.
House Flipper 2 review: Visuals and soundtrack
The original House Flipper was released in 2018 with a distinct, low-budget 3D aesthetic. House Flipper 2 is much more polished and visually appealing than its predecessor, though it still features some of the more cartoonish look and feel that was established in the first game. There's no photo-realism here. However, the world is still striking in its own ways, with fantastic lighting effects, including the sunlight filtering through the surrounding trees and stars in the night sky. Evening lighting casts lovely golden hues, and the sunset ushers in a darkness that will leave you clamoring to click the button to turn on your flashlight.
For the soundtrack, House Flipper 2's background music has a bit of a cheerful "elevator music" vibe going for it. While the songs aren't something that would stand out or take over your Spotify wrapped, they do fit the theme and set the tone of the game. The music for House Flipper 2 was composed by Weifan Chang.
House Flipper 2 review: Story and world
Welcome back to Pinnacove, the town where House Flipper 2 takes place. The idyllic suburbs are where the player character spent their childhood, and they've returned to purchase and flip houses. Early in the game, the player is introduced via a phone call to Tom Marino, a real estate agent and old friend who has some info on things going around town. Tom is around to help the player find job opportunities and homes to renovate. He forwards your email to prospective clients, and they send you an email that can be accessed from the laptop in your childhood home.
Each client will have a laundry list of things they would like for you to do to improve their home. Though, in the beginning, these requests start with you feeling more like a maid than anything. It wasn't long before we found out that our buddy Tom Marino really did have his finger on the pulse when we learned about The Ugliest House. It ultimately becomes our goal to purchase and flip this atrocity for the betterment of Pinnacove. But before we get to that point, we need to prove ourselves by taking on as many jobs around the city's various suburbs as possible.
Pinnacove is home to quite a cast of characters. Players will find themselves cleaning up the homes of rowdy influencers who hosted a garage-band concert in the city before heading to the lush woods on the outskirts of town to help modernize a getaway cabin. This will then be followed up with a quest to help a band clean up and properly soundproof the (disgustingly messy and chaotic) house where they wrote their previous smash hit and want to record a new album.
Little hints and Easter eggs are scattered throughout the story, including a reference to Portal's "the cake is a lie" tucked away in a secluded basement. My favorite reference, however, is to the mother who emails and asks the player to properly fix a bathroom and kitchen that their "DIY Queen" daughter had attempted to make over. Once you arrive at the house, you'll find the bathroom has been haphazardly painted with cheap paint and DIY stencils—a reference to a particularly disastrous bathroom renovation trend that made its way around TikTok at one point.
House Flipper 2 review: Gameplay
House Flipper 2 falls into what I like to call the "blue-collar simulator" genre. These games are often focused on everyday blue-collar work that has a satisfying element involved. It's right at home with other blue-collar titles like Lawn Mowing Simulator, Farming Simulator 22, and Power Wash Simulator. One of the benefits of these types of games is that they're typically very relaxed. They don't regularly rely on tension-building tropes like time limitations or repetitive challenges to stress you out. Instead, they allow you to move at your own pace and get the job done as you see fit.
Players can start a quest by selecting an email in their inbox on the laptop that can be found in their parents' home. A to-do list can be brought up at any time during the renovation process to show you which items the client expects you to sell, throw away, repair, demolish, or buy to complete the quest. As you check off items from the to-do list, a star rating will gradually increase. Filling in one star completely will allow you to end the task and take what money you have earned. However, if you want to max out your earnings for a project, you will need to fill in all three stars and complete all (or nearly all) of the items on the list.
As players scrub dirt and grime from the walls, build new foundations, and demolish stairs, they earn progress toward skill points. These skill points can unlock additional upgrades for player tools that further improve their efficiency or usability. While the player starts with just a rag and sponge for cleaning, they can gradually unlock the spray cleaner, which speeds up the process, followed by a larger spray nozzle. Similarly, larger paint zones and the ability to paint without first setting a border can be unlocked for the roller.
House Flipper 2 review: Accessibility and approachability
Despite the labor-intensive jobs that blue-collar simulators are often based on, the genre generally tends to be focused on laid-back gameplay with satisfying results. House Flipper 2 falls into that trend, leaving little in the way of stressful mechanics for players to trip over and instead giving them the freedom to interact with the world on their own terms.
There is only one instance in House Flipper 2 where players will encounter time limitations, and that is the entirely optional "Assembly" segment. Some items that are available in the store can be assembled by the player. Completing the corresponding assembly tutorial for these items and receiving a star rating for them can make them cheaper in the shop when you buy them for your renovations, allowing you to earn more off the auction at the end. However, these assembly challenges are completely skippable, and any discount is marginal enough that it doesn't feel like a penalty if you don't have them.
While there is seemingly little on the surface for accessibility in House Flipper 2, the lack of a menu does not mean the game is unapproachable. All dialog in the game is both spoken by the NPCs and portrayed on screen, though there is no player voice to vocalize the three response answers the player can choose from.
House Flipper 2 can be played with a controller or keyboard and mouse. Personally, I find using the controller to navigate character movement mixed with mouse input for navigating menus and shops to be a preferred input setup, and House Flipper 2 worked with that arrangement just fine. There are no options to rebind the controller buttons, but keyboard bindings can be changed easily in the menu.
House Flipper 2 review: Final thoughts
You should play this if ...
✅ You want to leave your own creative mark on a game
House Flipper 2 is the kind of game you just lose yourself to over a weekend. You think you're only going to play a few missions or flip a house or two and call it good for a while. You will quickly find that you just want to set up all the decorations just so, using the game as a canvas for your own creativity. Sandbox mode and mod support are going to add an unbelievable amount of replay to House Flipper 2 over the long run as the community leaves their mark on the game.
You should not play this if ...
❌ You want fast-paced, intense story and action
As the resident Call of Duty addict, I know the thrill of fast-paced, hardcore combat and constant engagement. That's not what we're signing on to House Flipper 2 for, though. This is a calm, relaxing experience where the gratification comes from the satisfying finish of a job well done.
Empyrean and Frozen District have created a fantastic foundation with House Flipper 2. The game is everything you could hope for from the premise. Cleaning the homes feels satisfying, while there are sufficient design options. The inclusion of a brand-new Sandbox mode increases the potential for endless replayability and future mods.
However, I do wish that at least some of the content that was included in House Flipper 1 as DLC had made a return in the sequel. It would have been great to have seen some elements for pets, lawn maintenance, and farming return. I am glad, however, that the roaches from House Flipper 1 are gone, replaced with broken glass and leaves to vacuum up instead.
I also wish the game had offered a little more in the way of different design styles. A lot of the furniture and project requests from clients leaned heavily into modern aesthetics, with a lot of sharp angles and glass elements. I would have liked to have seen more options that varied a little more, including traditional, rustic, Victorian, or mid-century modern options.
Overall, though, the game is a great start for the sequel, and the game will likely follow a DLC path like its predecessor to add new content alongside community-made offerings. I spent 30 hours with House Flipper 2 for the sake of this review, playing through every challenge until I attained three stars and building my own homes from scratch. Even with the time I've already put into the game, I will happily pick it up again in the Spring when it comes to Xbox Series X|S consoles and play through it again.
Make your millions flipping houses in the idyllic town of Pinnacove. Renovate, decorate, or build your own homes from scratch and help the citizens with their home reno nightmares.
Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.