Castle Renovator Review
Although I haven't played too many games from the Flipper genre — and by that, I mean I've only really dabbled in House Flipper — I have grown quite fond of it. Picking up large messes, cleaning up stains, and turning an absolute trash house into a presentable place is rewarding and fun! So when I heard of Castle Renovator, I thought I would hit the peak with the genre due to my love for medieval times. I pictured it as something along the lines of Medieval Dynasty but better.
The game starts off a lot like House Flipper — you just kinda plop in front of a random broken-down land to find out it's actually yours, and then you get sent on a quest to renovate someone else's property. Except that it's not a computer giving you the missions but a board, and instead of a run-down house, you get nothing but an empty plot of land filled with trash.
The quests are quite simple: you go to someone's land, pick up their trash, clean their stains, and sometimes fix up a thing or two. They get a bit more complex as time goes on, going from cleaning up areas to straight-up building things. Each time you complete a request, you get money and some resources to take back with you, and through this, you can build your own little home.
Two features I really liked about Castle Renovator were the treasure chests you could find when exploring and the crates of resources you get after gathering a certain amount of trash. Although grabbing random treasure chests from other people's property felt a bit off — and straight-up criminal — it was pretty fun to have to run around looking for them. As for the crates... well, every time I loaded them onto my carriage and clicked my horse, the game would glitch and pop two menus over each other. I think this completely messed up the mechanic because the area designated for them was always empty, so I never got to profit from all the crates I brought onto my carriage. I still tried every time, however; I have a bit of a hoarding issue.
This was my main problem with the game — it is incredibly buggy, and half the time, things don't work as they should. As another example, every time night fell, I basically had to walk around in the dark because I could physically not discern anything around me. I tried using the torch, but it didn't help much, which was a bit of a bummer because I thought it was a very clever mechanic for medieval times.
Additionally, a lot of the game feels very... low-budget or indie. Whilst I personally don't mind it — in fact, I find that simplicity endearing at times — it might be a big deal breaker for some. The menus are uncomfortable and very, very simple, the music stands out awkwardly, the animations are a bit clunky, and the textures sometimes go out of wack. When you walk around an open area, the grass, trees, and bushes all spawn before you, like they do in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It just looks like an extremely old game.
As you progress through, you open up other features, such as renting houses on your land. Although at first this sounded exciting, the requirements for the houses aren't really that sensical, and the building is a bit uncomfortable and clunky, so at the end of the day, you might not even want to go through the trouble of building several houses to begin with. However, I personally did enjoy building my own little medieval house and a few for rent: there's something very unique and lovely about decorating a house from those eras. When it comes to that, I quite enjoyed Castle Renovator — I'm a big fan of decoration, so I spent quite a while just tinkering with that.
Although the game is probably a hit or miss, I thought it was pleasant enough. The variety in requests was just about the same as I've gotten to see in House Flipper, and in fact, I quite enjoyed the medieval mix of it. I got to clean up and fix a whole ship, and go to some random guy's house and wreck his stuff because his neighbour hated him. The biggest disappointment about the experience is that it had so much potential, but the commitment just wasn't there. The prospect of renovating, decorating, and building up medieval houses is unique, and the developer had some pretty cool ideas (like the treasures). The problem is that, in the end, it just feels a bit rushed and half-made — as if they couldn't bother to stick around and properly finish it.
All in all, Castle Renovator is pretty relaxing if you're into this genre like I am. The basics are there — picking up messes, renovating things — but the heart isn't. Awkward menus, buggy building, and even some signs of lacking care were this game's eventual downfall.
Castle Renovator (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
Although the game has potential, it falls short overall due to a lack of proper care and clunky gameplay.