SummerHouse Review

Game: SummerHouse
Genre: Casual, Sandbox, City Builder
System: Steam (Windows and Mac)
Developer|Publisher: Friedemann | Future Friends Games
Controller Support: Full
Price: US $4.99 | UK £3.99 | EU € 4,99
Release Date: March 8th, 2024

Review code provided with many thanks to Future Friends Games.

SummerHouse is the first solo project by developer Friedemann, who wants to recapture the summer afternoons of his youth spent exploring and having fun. I can relate, as I remember them too: afternoons in the sun that were ours to spend as we saw fit. Not a care in the world, exploring places where we felt sure nobody had ever been before….of course, that wasn’t the case, but it felt good to pretend. When it was time to go home for dinner, our mom just raised her voice outside of our home, calling our names, a sign that the afternoon had ended.

A littel house in SummerHouse built on the shores of a lake. It's raining and all the colours are in muted blues, greens and greys. Published on LadiesGamers
Watching the environment change when it rains

Do you remember that feeling? Hold on to that, and then imagine having an assortment of pre-made building blocks to make impromptu neighbourhoods out of. No goals, no times, no battle and no wrong or right. Just build as you see fit and make whatever you find pleasing!

Backdrops and Building Blocks

You can choose out of four landscapes for your build. A lush and green valley, a street against the backdrop of the big city, a desert area and somewhere in the countryside with snowy mountains in the distance. In that landscape, there’s a stretch of land that you can use for your builds. This means you can go for just one house, but you can also make a little hamlet with various buildings and functions.

A wooden house with a shack next to it, built in SummerHouse. The house is in the desert, with rock formations in the background and various cactus plants. Everything is in licht brown, washed out yellow and terra colours. Published on LadiesGamers
It might be hot and dry, but I wouldn’t mind living in this house!

The building blocks are divided into walls, roofs, doors, windows, greenery and other things to use. Some parts make a nice set when you use them, but you don’t have to make your building with a matching set. You can also go for contrast and make a castle tower next to a small shack. It’s really up to you.

You can play with the level of depth on which you place items, allowing you to put a little trellis fence in front of the house and a potted plant before that.

Playing with Time and Weather

During your build, and when it’s finished, of course, you can change the time of day to nighttime and see the lights in the house come on. Or you can go from sunny weather to a dreary thunderstorm, making the scene a totally different one.

A street with three houses in SummerHouse. It's nighttime and the light is shining in the windows. There's a snowy mountain top in the background. Published on LadiesGamers
At night, the lights come on! Except, of course, where the curtains are drawn.

The items take their colouring from the walls you are using or from the landscape you are building in. For example, the rocks are grey with green moss on top in the green valley but orange with brown tufts on top in the desert. The same goes for doors and windows; they can vary in colour.

A selection of random building blocks in SummerHouse. We see potted plants, a garden chair, airco units and awnings. Published on LadiesGamers
A selection of random building blocks

New building blocks are formed based on a hidden trigger involving animals or people. Pretty early on, I got a tree with owls in it. Or a window with the inhabitant of the house watching outside.

The Controls, Graphics and Sound

You can’t talk about SummerHouse without talking about the graphics. I love them; the colours of the surroundings are translucent and colourful. There is a minimal and relaxing soundtrack, and you hear the sounds of nature fitting to the landscape you have chosen.

I was very pleased by little touches, like placing a gate in a wall and then seeing the scenery behind the wall through the gate. And having chickens appear in the grass, pecking around, as a random new building block.

A summery scene with Italian style houses in SummerHouse. The gate that's installed shows the background, and we've just unlocked a new block: a grass patch with two chickens in it. Published on LadiesGamers
The gate is see-through after it’s placed! And a nice new block has been unlocked with two chickens.

SummerHouse is one of the only Steam games I have in my library that works on my MacBook, so that was a nice surprise. It works well on both a Windows computer and a Mac, both with a mouse and a controller. It also works on the Steam Deck, but I encountered some keys that I couldn’t reproduce very well on the Deck, like the Q and E keys to change the depth of placing items.

Conclusion for SummerHouse

Playing SummerHouse, I am reminded that a game doesn’t have to be grand or intricate, nor does it need a deep storyline. In SummerHouse it’s just you with a set of pre-made elements with which you build a house. Or a castle. Or a hotel…or even Bagend. Your imagination is key when you get to work, building the little neighbourhood just like you envision it.

An attempt at recreating a hobbit house in SummerHouse, with a round door with a knob in the middle and a picket fence. Published on LadiesGamers
My attempt at recreating Bagend. I couldn’t resist it seeing the round hobbit door in the building blocks!

No stress, no goals and no time, just your own creativity helped along by a collection of building blocks.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs UpTwo thumbs up


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