Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
In their previous simulation games, the virtual crack peddlers at Kairosoft have let players run a software company, manage a team of Grand Prix drivers, and explore the outer reaches of space. Now they’re back with their most incredible, mettle-testing challenge yet: property management.
Dream House Days keeps the magic formula—sow the seeds of success, reap, upgrade, repeat—pretty much intact. This time around, you’re decorating apartments in order to attract tenants, so that you can earn more rent, so that you can build nicer apartments to attract more tenants. You continue until your family discovers your cobweb-festooned remains clutching a phone in your malnourished, skeletal hand. The extra wrinkle here is that your building’s residents all have lives of their own. Certain furnishings will encourage them to find love or seek better jobs, which makes them happier and therefore more likely to drop some dough on a sweet crib. Eventually, they’ll marry, have families, and need a bigger place to live. It’s a bit like The Sims, except you don’t have to tell your little people when to go to the bathroom.
Everyone has a favorite Kairosoft game. This one is not mine. Juggling both your building resources and your residents’ stats feels a bit thematically incongruous, and the game is so cluttered with menus and notifications that it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. Personally, I’m partial to Epic Astro Story, but if real estate’s your thing, Dream House Days could be a micromanager’s delight.