Game: The Repair House: Restoration Sim
System: Steam (Windows & Linux)
Developer|Publisher: Claudiu Kiss | Fireshine Games
Controller Support: Yes
Price: UK £ 15.99 | US $ 19.99 | EU € 19.99
Release Date: July 19th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to 71 Consulting.
Repair and Restore
I have to say I didn’t walk into this review with optimistic expectations. After reviewing a few rather unpleasant entries in this diverse simulator genre, I wasn’t expecting greatness. But sometimes it’s always worth giving things another chance, something I am glad I did since The Repair House: Restoration Sim is an example of a simulator game done right.
Like so many other simulator games, you play in the first-person perspective. You have set up a home business where you repair/restore various items for clients sent through the mail in return for money which can then be used to upgrade and invest further into your business. The Repair House begins at a nice gradual pace to get you used to the various mechanics.
You receive jobs via the phone, each requiring completion within a few days as well as a short description of what the problem is. If you take the time to look at the details of how some of the items broke, you may get an odd chuckle. After all, we have all attempted to fix things ourselves and do a pretty terrible job of it. You receive the job instantly and then proceed to take the busted item to your workbench and start tinkering.
Assortment of Items
There is a huge assortment of items, with the variety only growing as you progress in the game. Examples include skateboards, game consoles and handhelds, general tools to various toys and many, many more. With the item on the workbench, you can examine it by rotating it and zooming in.
Sometimes the problem is obvious to see, like a missing wheel or something clearly damaged, but sometimes things feel vague. The game does give you some assistance by allowing you to pop up a menu during these work sessions to identify specifically where the issue is. What’s also useful is each repair made will then tick off like a checklist giving you a clear indication of when the job is complete.
Order Parts From The Catalogue
For many jobs, you will need to order new parts through a catalogue which takes a few days to come through. So it’s pretty important to make sure you only take on jobs you know you can finish in the set time limit. Because if you finish a job late, you don’t receive any money or XP, which feels a bit harsh considering the time you take to fix things.
I backed myself into a corner early into the game as I couldn’t afford my rent, but by some miracle, I managed to work my way out of it. First, you’ll carry out basic repairs, but as you get more money and level up, the game will open up further. More items to repair as well as new types of repairs which require you to invest in new workbenches such as a paint station and sandblasting station.
New rooms can be unlocked in your house to expand your space and workroom. The most interesting addition is you can venture out to flea markets, barns or auction houses just to buy items to repair and sell for a hopefully bigger profit. The heart and soul of the game is restoration and repair, but it’s a nice feature to add some variety. Plus, as a fan of car boot sales myself, I liked it.
The controls are very comfortable to use. I decided to go with a mouse and keyboard as this seemed to fit best when examining items, but the controller is fully supported. Collecting the jobs and moving them about is comfortable in the first-person view. The Repair House even allows quick access to move items quickly to the shelf to store or to the appropriate bench to work on.
Taking items apart is made very simple; hover your mouse over the various parts and screws, and you will take it apart with minimal stress. There is even a parts guide at the top of the screen which makes it easy to put things back together. Even if you’re a bit lazy, you don’t necessarily have to rotate items to unscrew them. Since these are clearly highlighted whether you have the item rotated in the correct spot or not. The process of taking items, repairing them, painting parts, sandblasting or washing all feels quite relaxing, as it should be. It always amazes me how games turn mundane tasks into something fun and addictive.
Gameplay Loop May Not Be To Everyone’s Taste
It’s worth mentioning the gameplay loop may not be to everyone’s taste. While it controls great, the game is repetitive. Sometimes I was getting very similar orders back to back, and fatigue started to set in on longer gameplay sessions. It also takes a bit of time for the game to really get going, requiring quite the grind to unlock new content, which may not sit well with people only able to commit to shorter gameplay sessions.
For me, I almost quit the game when I accidentally unlocked a new room in the house as I couldn’t find the painting bench I just bought (it was in my inventory hidden away). So I lost much precious money, almost failing to pay my rent. It would have been handy if this was better pointed out, as this may lead to some angrily quitting the game.
It’s Your House
The graphics are good but a bit bland, which is common for sim games. I was mostly impressed by the many items you can repair and take apart. I wasn’t so taken when you go to flea markets or storage facilities that feel empty and bland. As not all items on stalls can be interacted with, reminding me this is a simulator game. But since the gameplay is engaging, I forgave this quite easily. Your house is really what you make of it.
I kinda enjoyed the rustic design of the place. But you can fully customize it to your liking, provided you have the funds. Do the walls, add some plants, and even adjust your workbenches exactly how you like. The game really is what you make of it, adding to the overall relaxing feeling it gives off. I wasn’t so fond of the game’s soundtrack. In the early stages of The Repair House, a weird guitar string tune would loop over and over, which quickly drilled into my head and not in a good way. So that came off, and podcasts and my own music came on. For a busybody game like this, that’s ok.
Conclusion: Job Done
The Repair House: Restoration Sim is a good simulator game. Comfortable controls, a huge variety of items to play with and an addictive gameplay loop make this a solid recommendation. There are a few niggles. It can take some time to unlock things as the trickle of money is quite small, especially early in the game. The repetitive gameplay loop may not be to everyone’s taste.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating if you’re not into the busybody nature of games like this or just don’t like simulator games. This probably won’t be for you. What is worth mentioning is the developer is listening to feedback from the player base and looking to continue to update the game. So consider wish listing if you don’t jump on it right now. The Repair House: Restoration Sim is a big win for me as not only is it a relaxing and engaging experience, but it also just generally restored my faith in this genre.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot
A free demo is available on Steam if you want to try the game first.