Sam Leith Sam Leith

Entirely pointless and extremely pleasant: House Flipper 2 reviewed

An excellent example of a video game that provides a mildly absorbing repetitive task that whiles away the hour

Grade: B+

Most video games challenge the player’s problem-solving skills, reaction time or hand-eye co-ordination. But a handful of them offer satisfactions of a different sort: the gentlest of difficulty curves and the calming pleasure, instead, of a mildly absorbing repetitive task which whiles away the idle hour in the way you might pass it flicking through a set of worry beads or making a cat’s cradle with a ball of string.

The unexpected sleeper hit House Flipper (2018) was one such. It was boring, but in a good way. Its sleeker, prettier sequel has had the wisdom not to depart far from the formula. The premise is that you travel around a breezy seaside town sprucing up properties for profit. You start small. You’ve returned to your hometown of Pinnacove and are living in your parents’ spare room. An old friend rings you up to offer you a cash-in-hand job cleaning up a property that has been ravaged by raccoons. 

You’ll spend anything up to an hour patiently righting tipped-over plant pots, straightening the telly, filling bin bags with rubbish, and scrubbing raccoon paw-prints off the sofa. Your future, you hope, holds great feats of interior design, and the redesigning and ‘flipping’ of stunning coastal mansions for vast profits. For now, you’re more Mrs Mop than Anouska Hempel. It’s so easy that you don’t even have to search, annoyingly, for that last paw-print. A scanner shows you what to click next.

It’s entirely pointless, and extremely pleasant. Highly suitable for those with blood pressure issues, insomnia or OCD – and millennials who’d like to be able to at least fantasise about buying and selling property for profit.