Developer: Pyramid Games
Publisher: Gaming Factory S.A., Ultimate Games S.A.
Genre(s): Casual, Indie, Simulation
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 26/5/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Hey! You! Yes you, the dashing individual reading this review. Are you increasingly becoming dissatisfied with modern life? Do you long for an age where you could profit from your own hard work? And do you frequently look in disgust at the ruins of a once-mighty tower and think “I could fix that up”? Well now, you can! All thanks to Castle Flipper, a quaint little simulation game that lets you live out your wildest medieval home makeover dreams.
The medieval fantasy has always revolved around courageous knights and gorgeous damsels, but what use is adventuring and questing if you have nought to show for it? Instead, Castle Flipper lets you take on the role of a medieval craftsman, an individual well versed in the art of manual labour; and that’s no joke. After inheriting a piece of land owned by your grandfather, you are left with nothing but a dishevelled shack surrounded by broken fences and piles of junk. To an uncultured commoner, this inheritance may seem pitiful, like a cruel joke; But you, dear reader, are no commoner.
What you may see before you is a challenge, and one you cannot help but accept. So you must set about acquiring enough funds, notoriety, and renown to turn this small patch of land into your very own kingdom. Think of shows like Grand Designs and Extreme Home Makeover, but in the 12th century.
All in a Day’s Work
When I said that you are well-versed in manual labour, what I mean is that you are the quintessential demigod of manual labour. No matter the task you are more than ready for it, whether it be the basics of cleaning, construction, or interior design. This makes you many things: the bane of stains; the king of construction; renovator supreme; all of these titles reflect the versatility of you, the player, but also highlight what makes Castle Flipper so addictive. A big part of Castle Flipper is its assortment of busy work for you to complete (odds and ends so to speak). But it is exactly that level of simplicity that makes the game so alluring, particularly because it works really well.
Castle Flipper is all about work; But the good kind of work, where you like what you do and are not exploited for your labour. You’ll first receive some introductory jobs to familiarise yourself with various tasks and mechanics important for your rise to fame. Most jobs will have you perform small tasks, such as cleaning up rubbish, scrubbing stains, or repairing broken walls and furniture. More advanced jobs will actually have you build a new house for a village, and even rent it out. As time progresses and your skills become known far and wide, you’ll have the opportunity to work on grand castles. Some of these have been left in a terrible state, with corpses and god knows what else left lying around. However, your skills may also be required for more unorthodox assignments.
Landowners and lords can be quite petty, wanting to send a message to rivals or settle grudges. So, from time to time, they may call upon you to mosey on over to some land and do a little “redecorating”. This can be some of the most fun you’ll have, as it’s a pretty simple case of smashing things up with your hammer (and with no opposition too). The morality of such jobs is rather ambiguous, but you gotta show people that you are reliable. The more jobs you do, the more money you receive, which can then be used to improve your own land and available materials; but we’ll get to that later.
Like many other simulation games, Castle Flipper takes a simple, and rather dull, concept and turns it into a good time. This is helped by the game’s whimsical writing, which is a nice little touch that makes for some interesting and entertaining work orders. Not just that, but the concept itself is implemented extremely well. Castle Flipper embodies the phrase “less is more”, enthralling you in the most basic of tasks and doing so in a way that’s relaxing and fun.
Tricks of the Trade
Doing all of this work will require some familiarity with the tools in your arsenal. Lucky for you, learning how to use them is a breeze. There are several tools at your disposal; an axe for felling trees, a brush for cleaning, and a hammer to get rid of bigger chunks of debris. The more jobs you do, the sooner you gain access to other useful tools.
Soon, you’ll be able to apply a material to a newly constructed house, supposing you have the right materials. With smaller repair jobs like furniture, you’ll have a dedicated repair tool. Last but not least you also have a torch to light up darker areas. Some jobs will require you to use your brute strength to carry large pillars and planks to fix walls and floors, though this is no trouble. You literally have everything you need, and you can access whatever you require with ease thanks to the implementation of a radial menu that houses all of your tools.
The gameplay itself is thus very easy to pick up, requiring little effort to play. To some, this may be a dealbreaker, but the casual feel of Castle Flipper is what makes it stand out from its more intricate peers. It is comprehensive without feeling convoluted, knowing exactly what it wants to do, and doing it well. This makes it not only accessible but a pleasant experience perfect for those looking to unwind after a long day.
Making a House a Home
After a hard day’s work, you always return back to your own land, with your trusty job board and fences. But having now made your way up the social and economic ladder, it’s time to make the vile eyesore of land home. Starting out with a small plot, you can use the money you earn to expand your land, allowing you to build a larger house or towering fortress.
You’ll only be able to access building pieces for a standard house at first, such as walls, doorframes and windows. When placed they’ll be a simple wooden frame, which you then fill in with your alter tool. Though, you will need to make sure you have the right materials to make your home look how you want. These will be things like stone and wood, which can be applied in different styles. These are often acquired out on jobs when cleaning up garbage. However, you will be able to purchase these materials from a building that appears on your land later on.
There are a variety of options at your disposal when it comes to furnishing your new home too. You’ll have access to a catalogue which is neatly organised to distinguish furniture and decorations according to what room they belong in. This makes it really easy to find what you’re looking for, and gives you access to numerous styles for any type of item. More styles can be unlocked by another building that appears on your land, where you can also purchase new blueprints, rename your kingdom, and customise your own banner. These aspects combined help lend whatever you build that personal touch, which is an unexpected but welcome addition to the game.
This doesn’t even factor in castle building and customisation, which is equally as expansive in its building options and furnishings; perhaps more so than houses. You’ll unlock the ability to build a castle after completing the first job that allows you to do so. You’ll find much more variety when it comes to foundations, walls, and roofs compared to a normal house. This is because you have access to tower foundations, longer walls, and larger room sizes, among other things. I found that building yourself a castle is much more fun than a measly house, and not just because of the increase in variety; it’s also just a lot cooler.
Those architecturally inclined individuals will adore this aspect of Castle Flipper. The player is given a surprising amount of creative freedom when it comes to construction and decoration. This is largely due to the diversity of the game’s building options. Building pieces are very basic in design, allowing you to connect pieces in numerous ways. Like everything else in Castle Flipper, construction is made fun; Plus everything fits together nicely, no need for measurements or site plans.
Taking It All In
After, and sometimes during, a long day at work, it’s always nice to look upon the fruits of your labour. Castle Flipper’s impressive visuals and soundtrack make this feel even more rewarding; as well as make the game that much more delightful. Even on a mid-tier PC such as mine, the game still looks stunning and runs smoothly; with gorgeous sunsets and unique settings that the average worker could only dream of working in. This is complemented by a charming soundtrack pulled straight out of the middle ages, combining the gentle harmonies of assorted string instruments with the occasional light percussion. Castle Flipper nails the ‘ye old’ aesthetic by not just looking the part, but sounding like it too, resulting in an immersive experience that effortlessly transports you back to the Middle Ages.
Castle Flipper is a wonderful medieval sim that could very well be the Holy Grail of its genre. It masters its setting and tone with exceptional visual and sound design, and executes its simple premise to perfection; turning the most boring of real-world busywork into a pleasant and delightful gameplay experience. For an era so synonymous with chivalry, Castle Flipper instead gives emphasis to the beauty of simple living and honest hard work, making for a game oozing with charm and one that kept me coming back for more; and it’s bound to cast that same spell on you.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
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