Home Sweet Home in Review: A House is Not a Home ‘Til You Build It!

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Popular PC game Home Sweet Home is now pocket-sized for the iPhone and iPod Touch! Fans of social networking games such as Pet Society will instantly recognize the irresistible appeal of designing your own space and exploring the permutations of your creativity from the game that started it all in 2007.

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Your job is to design a room that is suited to your various clients’ needs, tastes and preferences. This is the first part. Your clients are deliberately vague about what they want though – you can make an educated guess or you can pay for a hint. The second part is designing the space allotted you and cobbling together available furniture, decorative objects and fixtures. Since you’re working with a limited budget, you need to make wise financial decisions that are practical yet true to your vision. You are free to place them anywhere – subject to space limitations, of course. Part of the fun and challenge of the game is not seeing the items you selected fully formed – only blank outlines of the furniture to be filled out when you start building. The third part is making your design a reality. You are working within a time limit to carry out the building process. Your job is to match the builders to the object that is highlighted in a particular color. At this point, you will enjoy watching the bare outlines slowly transform into the beautiful set pieces in your catalog.

homesweethome_2The bright and colorful graphics are both cartoony and realistic – the workers are drawn with a comic touch while the set pieces aim to impress with the attention to detail. Game controls are intuitive and maximize the multi-touch screen well, but need some refinement with respect to the building process.

However, the game needs a few tweaks here and there for added depth and enhancement of overall gameplay.

The beautifully designed catalog items aren’t really differentiated from each other in terms of price – thus there is no real incentive to spend on the more expensive items. Also, since the resale value of whatever item you select is at full price, again, there is no incentive for you to be more prudent in your design decisions. While I appreciate its simplicity, there is a need to improve upon and maximize the resource management aspect of the game because it holds itself out to be an important aspect of gameplay. The devs should look into ways on making resource management more challenging to the player.

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There is no obvious measure of success upon the accomplishment of each level – it seems that for as long as you fulfill the order on time, you move on to the next. Giving awards for say: budget or space maximization or creating a design that is consistent with a color theme would fit in nicely with the integration of an online leaderboard system and tap into the social networking potential of the game.

There are a number of minor changes I’d love to see in the next update. One is the ability to go back to a particular house in case you want to do something different with it, instead of starting from the beginning. Another is you should be able to view the finished room after you’ve finished building it. A great bonus would be a snapshot feature that lets you take a picture of your hard work and the ability to share it with your friends via email or social networking sites. Finally, the devs should also consider putting in a “free play” mode where the player can design and build whatever s/he feels like doing.

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Overall, Home Sweet Home is a polished, highly addictive and dazzlingly original game that incorporates puzzle solving, a bit of simulation, strategy, resource and time management. The game is hopelessly addictive and by far one of the best hybrid time management games I have ever played.

With this I declare Home Sweet Home officially Touched!

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App Summary
Title:Home Sweet HomeDeveloper:Big Blue Bubble
Reviewed Ver:1.00Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$2.99App Size:20.3 mB
  • a one-of-a-kind game
  • polished graphics and gameplay
  • high replay value
  • resource management aspect is too simplistic
  • there isn’t a way of viewing or taking a photo of your finished product
  • no online leaderboard integration

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