Home Sweet Home: Addictive Interior Design Game

Price: $2.99    Score: 9/10    By Michelle SchustermanHome Sweet Home

How addictive? I opened the app nearly two hours ago and am only just now starting to write about it.

Home Sweet Home for iPhone is the app version of Big Blue Bubble Inc’s already popular game available online and for PCs and Macs. The game casts you as an interior designer with a neighborhood full of customers, each with specific (and at times, eclectic) tastes and preferences.

When you begin, your red-haired cartoon host walks you through the process of finding your budget, deciphering notes about your customer, and purchasing items from the catalog. The customer rarely spells out what they want – you just get a little personal information about them. If you’re not sure how to interpret that info, you can have the host give you a hint, but at a price, of course.

The room may come with a few items already, which you can sell if you wish. As you start to design the room, a bar at the bottom will keep track of how happy the customer is with what you’re doing. You can only move on to building the room when their happiness reaches a certain level. If any items in the room are placed in an undesirable location, the item will glow red, and you won’t be able to start building.

This game sucked me back to my college days of The Sims, where I’d spend hours designing a house, then ditch the characters and move on to design the house next door. One thing I noticed about Home Sweet Home is that when you add an item or change the floors or walls, you don’t see the item in color as it is in the catalog. At first I didn’t like this, because it became difficult to see how my room was coming along. Then I realized real interior design wouldn’t work that way – you have to visualize, then build.

As you move on to new customers, the catalog begins to grow, with new items added every time. The workers are kind of fun to control too – the faster they finish the job, the more you get paid. You can send them around the room to build what you bought, tapping the coffee pot when they get tired and the first aid kit when they get hurt. As you move on, you need to make sure they clean up their trash as well.

At the end of each project you get paid, with a breakdown of how much went into building added in. While racing to get a bigger paycheck is probably a good motivator for some players, I kept playing out of sheer curiosity to see what the next customer would want.

The graphics are colorful, cute, and fun, and the music and sound effects are light (but come with sound level control just in case). I like the walk-through at the beginning, and it doesn’t take long at all to get the gist of the game. I do think it would be nice to go back and view the completed rooms, so I can bask in our interior design awesomeness. Overall, Home Sweet Home is a fun game and worth the price.

Home Sweet Home requires the iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch.

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