Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a home building game with heart
Many of the most popular games on Facebook are business management titles, and of those one of the most popular features is decoration. And it’s a good thing, because that’s the focus of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. What makes the game different, however, is that decoration is more than just a superfluous, secondary element to the game, but the entire core mechanic. As such, you must attempt redecorate an entire home for a deserving set of families.
It’s actually a rather heartwarming and fun process if you enjoy decorating virtual spaces. When you start a game, you are given a set of families to choose from and are able to read a short back story on who they are. In the blurb, it will describe what they do and what they need, with the key highlights pulled out of the text for you. For example, the text might note that a specific utility (like a walk-in shower) is needed. These highlights are requirements that must be fulfilled before the home can be finished and revealed.
There are also other bits of text that are highlighted, which can be added to the home in order to garner a better reaction out of the family when it finished and revealed. Maybe someone in the family likes to cook. Maybe they like sports or perhaps movies. Building amenities that cater to these will improve how much they like the home you have created for them.
What makes the game more enjoyable is that there is no currency that needs to be earned in order to decorate. You make use of a recharging energy resource called “Volunteers” in order to build everything. The bigger and fancier the item, the more volunteers it takes to create. Unfortunately, this is a pretty significant double edged sword. While this means you, technically, have infinite money, it runs dry extraordinarily quickly and will take multiple game sessions just to finish one house. What makes this so detrimental is that you really don’t get a full sense as to whether or not you like the game or not in that first, critical play through. This is mitigated slightly by the ability to ask friends for more.
To start building a new home, you have to first demolish the old home and select a house style and floor plan. This is done through simple clicks, but once both have been chosen, you have to move from room to room, via a blueprint mini-map, and decorate them piece by piece. As you go about doing so you can recheck on the family’s needs (that first blurb of text) at any time. Also, you want to try and complete the whole deal within a limited amount of time (the first house is about a day and a half).
During construction, you can also visit the fancy art tent, which consists of premium items that cost premium currency. In fact, these points can also be utilized to upgrade many of the amenities that you’ve already placed as well. What is a great social bonus too, is that while they are primarily purchased through Facebook credits, they can also be requested through friends.
Other than the significantly slow pace of Extreme Makeover, the other qualm come in the form of the decoration itself. It works okay most of the time. The key word is “most.” On occasion, items become unselectable and cannot be moved until you leave a room and come back. Thankfully, this did not occur often.
Even with these problems, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a pretty original and well made game. It has a feel-good style to it, which is helped quite a bit by its heartwarming music. The only significant downside is you don’t get much out of that first session due to a very limited volunteer pool, and it can take several play sessions to finish even one house. Nevertheless, if you enjoy decorative elements in game, this is a title you will most certainly enjoy.