If you are familiar with Playrix’s other game Gamescapes, then the name Austin the Butler should immediately ring a bell. In Homescapes, you are tasked with renovating the inside of the old mansion through a combination of simulation and match-three puzzles.
Your family home has fallen into a state of disrepair, and it is up to you to give it a complete makeover for everything including the furniture, and convince your parents not to sell it.
The game combines a perfect blend of match-three puzzles as you advance your house renovation goals which progress the storyline. With rich visual detail, get ready to love this game.
Austin the Butler is as bright and wonderful as he has always been. The first impression you get as you start the game is the very atmospheric and surreal jazz music playing in the background, with birds chirping.
Much attention to detail has been paid to the graphics, especially the interior of the mansion. The puzzle boards are bright and colorful, while the animated cutscenes fit and tell the story about retrofitting an old estate well. The house slowly comes to life as you make new changes.
As soon as you add something significant, for example, a book corner, you talk to your parents, and this is shown on-screen giving you the incentive to play.
The game is a combination of lots of on-screen prompts and swiping and tapping. The latter is important for when you are doing the actual renovations and adding items to the house.
At the bottom of the screen are controls that show you which items could possibly be added, so you only need to tap on the one which you feel is the best selection and then tap again to confirm the selection.
On the side of the puzzle board, you only need to match tiles by swiping or tapping to remove tiles from the board. The system is entirely intuitive and interactive.
Lasting Appeal 4/5
Homescapes is a casual game, and there is no pressure to play extensively. There was always the possibility of Gardenscapes’ previous success clouding that of Homescapes, but Homescapes does manage to break free of that limitation and introduces new gameplay elements such as different tiles and boosters in the puzzles.
The puzzle board has been designed differently, and the addition of matching four tiles to provide more powerful options for clearing the board is a fine one.
Some of the other levels especially on the puzzle boards become increasingly difficult, but not so much as to lock one out of the game. Daily challenges to refill lives and daily wheels to earn free boosters are missing in this version. This markedly makes progress a little slower, and you have to grind more.
There are also meager coin rewards, and the costs are even higher than in Gardenscapes.
You’ll probably find this game a little less attractive than Gardenscapes when it comes to the puzzle board, but the storyline of house renovation in this version is better told through your interaction with your parents on-screen. Homescapes however does stand its ground in terms of offering a unique player experience. The question is will it ever be as phenomenal as Gardenscapes?