Ever looked at Pinterest and thought that could make a great game? Considered a layout in IKEA and wished you could manipulate it yourself? That’s kind of the thinking behind Design Home – a game that’s all about rearranging a room’s decor. Yup, really. Keen to ensnare fashion fans, it offers a wealth of virtual furniture from real furniture companies. It’s a little too sterile to be truly gripping, but it’s an intriguing concept.
The core idea is that you decorate a room with furniture and other coverings, before entering your design into competition with other players. Those players rate designs, with the winner gaining prestige and additional currency to buy even more fancy furniture and so on. Each stage offers a different theme with a few objectives involved to ensure you keep carefully to what’s expected of you. Low on virtual money? You can always buy more through an in-app purchase, summing up exactly how Design Home hopes to get you.
Initially, that all seems like quite a nice idea. Being given different challenges for each room gives you the opportunity to pick out different objects for corresponding slots. You can place sofas, coffee tables, picture frames, and so forth. It’s all simple enough to do with the only tricky bit being determining the style of the item. It really does feel like someone’s handed you a furniture catalogue and told you to go nuts with it. In theory, you can even plan out your own room, assuming you have the money to buy some of this rather expensive furniture.
It’s very easy to play, with a steady stream of unlocks the more you do things. Daily challenges and regular supply drops ensure there’s always more to accomplish, too. Plus, you can dip into voting for other players’ creations at a moment’s notice.
There’s a catch, though. Structurally, it’s all rather sound, but it’s also soulless. It’s initially fun to place items down, moving them around, and deducing if your style looks appropriate for the requirements, but you can’t do much else. You can’t communicate with other players, for instance. Instead, you just view their creations and vote, but it’s all quite sterile. It’s nowhere near as warm as you’d expect something focused on home design would be.
By removing that community side of things, Design Home soon ends up less compelling than it should. Logging in every day rewards you with some benefits, but you find yourself doing so out of habit, rather than a sense of fun. It’s all fine and nothing better than that. If you’re nuts about drawing in votes for your designs, there’s a kind of satisfaction in designing something particularly eye catching, but the praise will never feel as forthcoming as it should because there’s no way of providing it effectively.
Unlike other games a bit like this (such as the many Glu celebrity games), there’s no storyline to follow, luring you in a little more each time. The real allure to Design Home is for those people keen to own a home but without the space or finances. They can live out their dreams of designing a home just how they want it to look, without spending any real money or significant time on the results. As a form of dream making, it fits the job. Even if its longevity isn’t quite there.