Home Tech Summerhouse – this dreamy pixel renovation game is the ideal escape

Summerhouse – this dreamy pixel renovation game is the ideal escape

by Elijah
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Summerhouse – this dreamy pixel renovation game is the ideal escape

Iimagine an idyllic vacation. Where does your mind go? A Tolkienian pastoral glade? Maybe a terracotta house in a dusty desert? A lifetime of small-town living leaves me longing for a bustling city apartment, flanked by neon advertisements and wall gardens. Summerhouse is an intimate shoebox world that provides an outlet for such architectural fantasies, allowing players to meticulously create lived-in spaces that fit their vision of a perfect escape.

The polar opposite of Grand Designs, Summerhouse is a game of indulgence – a pixelated park for the kitsch, quaint, grandiose or obscure. You won’t need to consider a budget, or foundations, or, God forbid, a building permit. Developer Friedemann’s blurry world of pixels is your oyster.

“Summerhouse incubates your inner inventor”. Photo: Friedemann/Future Friends Games

Before donning your metaphorical helmet, you’ll choose one of four bustling locations, like the base of a snow-capped mountain or the borders of a metropolis. While there, you’ll navigate through a Microsoft Paint-like side menu containing windows, doors, and decor.

Summerhouse’s marvelous ignorance of physical geometry leaves plans gathering dust on the sidewalk. White picket fences can line your tiled roof like medieval parapets, and vending machines can be transformed into doors. The burden of choice that usually overwhelms me when playing a city-building game faded into quiet contemplation when I created a house made mostly of mailboxes in a barren valley.

Summerhouse’s building block-inspired placement will occasionally reward you with a nice character cameo and new items to flesh out your cozy concepts. But it’s not something to work on or plan for; instead, Summerhouse incubates your inner inventor, allowing you to stumble through progression. This approach suits the warm, welcoming vibe of the game, and once you’ve developed a thriving space, it can take the form of a peaceful diorama, something to sit back and admire, like David O’s game Reilly. Mountain.

“Beautiful tributes to my past”. Photo: Friedemann/Future Friends Games

With the push of a button, clear moonlit nights transform into hazy, sunny mornings. Other times I preferred to whip up an atmospheric storm that reminded me of devastated Queensland camping trips and summer barbecues gone wrong. You can inspect your mini-kingdom in all its forms, as if you were experiencing an entire year of vacation. In its strongest moments, Summerhouse made me recontextualize my summer vacation memories: some of the houses I built were beautiful homages to my past, others were twisted monsters of Escher geometry, which I nevertheless learned to love tortured abstraction.

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Relaxing is not easy for me. I can’t sit still to save my life. However, with Summerhouse, I appreciated the calm. I took advantage of the construction of my house to sort and reorganize my mental filing cabinet, keeping my hands busy while letting my mind wander. With only a minimalist ambiance and clicks to accompany you, Summerhouse reliably makes a day’s frustrations disappear, a contemplative addition to the cozy gaming cabal that’s slowly conquering my hard drive.

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