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Summerhouse – this dreamy pixel renovation game is the ideal escape
Culture Games

Summerhouse – this dreamy pixel renovation game is the ideal escape


Imagine a perfect vacation. Where do you imagine yourself? A peaceful and picturesque meadow inspired by Tolkien’s writings? Perhaps a cozy clay cottage in a arid desert setting? After living in a small town for most of my life, I find myself yearning for the hustle and bustle of a city apartment adorned with bright flashing advertisements and vertical gardens. Summerhouse provides a tiny but immersive world where players can indulge in their architectural dreams, creating detailed and lived-in spaces that reflect their ideal getaway.

Summerhouse is a contrast to Grand Designs, offering a playful escape for those who appreciate kitsch, charm, magnificence, or obscurity. There is no need to worry about budget, construction, or obtaining permission. Friedemann’s pixelated world is boundless and at your disposal.

A screengrab from Summerhouse.

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Before getting started, you will select from one of four bustling locations, like the foot of a snowy mountain or the edge of a city. Once on site, you will browse through a menu resembling Microsoft Paint, which includes options for windows, doors, and decorations.

Summerhouse’s blissful unfamiliarity with traditional geometry causes plans to sit neglected on the ground. You can use white picket fences to adorn your tiled roof, as if they were medieval battlements, and transform vending machines into doorways. The overwhelming burden of decision-making that typically confronts me while playing city-building games was replaced by tranquil reflection as I constructed a home primarily built from mailboxes in a dry valley.

Inspired placement of Summerhouse’s building blocks will occasionally reward you with a cute character cameo and new objects to flesh out your cosy concepts. But this isn’t something to work towards or plan for; rather, Summerhouse incubates your inner inventor, letting you stumble across progression. This approach suits the game’s warm, welcoming ambience, and once you’ve developed a thriving space, it can take on the form of a halcyon diorama, something to sit and admire, like David OReilly’s game Mountain.

Summerhouse screengrabView image in fullscreen

By simply pressing a button, clear and bright nights turn into hazy and warm mornings. On occasion, I enjoyed creating a stormy atmosphere to reminisce about my camping trips in Queensland and failed summer barbecues. You are able to examine your miniature world in all of its different forms, as if experiencing an entire year’s worth of vacations. During its most powerful moments, Summerhouse made me reevaluate my own summer holiday memories: some of the houses I constructed were beautiful tributes to my past, while others were bizarre and twisted, with Escher-like geometry, which I ended up loving regardless.

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I struggle to relax and have a hard time sitting still. However, while playing Summerhouse, I thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere. The process of building my house allowed me to declutter and rearrange my thoughts while keeping my hands occupied. With minimal background noise and satisfying clicks, Summerhouse serves as a peaceful escape from daily stress and has become a staple in my gaming collection.

Source: theguardian.com