House Builder is a house building sim, as one would guess from the title. You pick locations from all around the Earth and each location has a specific house to build. The game is more on the guided side. The houses you build aren’t free form at all and components snap into a predetermined place. I’d say it’s more akin to building a model kit than a house but I found it to be enjoyable nonetheless.
The game limits you to one level when you first start out, building an igloo in the arctics. Each level has one specific house to build and each level usually has different mechanics or adds onto pre-existing mechanics. For example, for the igloo you cut out ice chunks from certain locations and then you snap them into place. For the next level, you build a hut out in the jungle. You cut down trees, get twine, and form the basic structure and then make mud bricks to fill in rest.
Once you finish the house, you can purchase decorations and then sell the house for a profit. The earlier levels only have simple decorations for the exterior but as you get to the more complex levels, there are a lot of interior decorations as well.
The game has a simple progression system. As you repeat tasks enough times, you will level up related skills in the skill tree. For example, after cutting ice enough times, you will now acquire more ice per cut and be able to carry more ice blocks at once. As you place more ice blocks into place, you gain the ability to just hold down the mouse button and have the game place the blocks automatically. It’s a simple system but it feels pretty good and makes building houses more convenient, especially the later ones.
There’s a lot of variety as you progress into the later levels. For example, for the house in Canada, you have to mow the grass, destroy the old house, dig up the foundation, place rebar, pour concrete, place foundation blocks, and so forth. It’s a pretty involved build and it gives you a wide variety of different sim like things to do. If you want to cut grass, you can. If you want to dig dirt, you totally can! While the game does have variety, it’s pretty shallow in terms of mechanical depth for each aspect.
For example, the grass cutting feels a bit simple as you only have one lawn mower and the animations are a bit lacking so feels lifeless. This isn’t really a complaint, just an observation. I personally thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the game, even though some parts were definitely buggy or unpolished.
Overall, I personally enjoyed House Builder. It satisfies that desire for mindless grind, and that itch to build something without having to deal with too much thinking. It’s perfect for a calming, relaxing time.