The Repair House has some solid foundations but too many irritations need fixing.
It’s been a while since I’ve looked at one of those “simulator” games. Whilst few have reached the heights of PC Building Simulator for me, but the likes of Model Builder and even House Flipper are reasonably fun. Interestingly, The Repair House is from the original creator of PC Building Simulator, so I was very much interested right from the off, even if the theming isn’t quite as up my street.
There isn’t much in the way of a plot here, which is fine, but you seem to have acquired a repair shop in which you will fix a variety of household objects for random people. I will say that there’s a lack of personality here. In Mech Mechanic Simulator, you had the interplay between different part manufacturers, whilst PC Building Simulator had funny little stories attached to some of the requests. It’s not a deal breaker at all, but it meant I never really read any requests and looked straight at the list of requirements.
Anyway, you’ll receive a number of products, ranging from coffee grinders and pipe cutters to games consoles and arcade cabinets, and your job will be to replace broken parts and occasionally clean up or repaint them. Get them fixed and send them back on time, and you’ll earn money to fix more items, as well as unlock new tools and areas of the repair shop to use and decorate. It’s a simple cycle that’s reasonably pleasant to repeat in an almost zen-like way.
The actual fixing part is nice enough, with you clicking to remove and unscrew parts before replacing them with the new ones. You’ll sometimes need to pay attention to the order in which you dismantle something to make sure you don’t miss any parts as you won’t be able to return an incomplete object, necessitating you rebuilding it again. Some of the items are quite convoluted, like radio controlled cars and toy tanks that have lots of individual parts to keep track of, but for the most part things are quite intuitive, with the pieces that you are able to use at your current stage displayed at the top of the screen.
This is all well and good for the smaller items, but once you start working on larger ones like claw machines, and even the guitars to a point, things become more irritating. Whilst you can zoom and rotate the objects to help you navigate them, you inexplicably cannot pan the camera. It’s always locked to the centre of the item, only snapping to a specific part when you try to remove it. This can make finding the part you actually need to work on on the larger objects very frustrating, especially if it’s a small, hard to spot piece. It’s not helped that the UI is quite cluttered, making some bits even harder to get to.
The problem also extends to some of the other activities too, such as washing, sandblasting, and painting items. All of these work in the same way, with you rotating a piece of a larger object to clean dirt, remove paint, and respray it, but the locked point on each piece can make it difficult to get into smaller recesses, resulting in you needing to fight the camera to complete the task. Seeing as building and painting are the main parts of the game, these irritations quickly stacked up for me.
If you just stick to the smaller items though, The Repair House is quite nice to play as a peaceful, podcast game. Learning your way around a new piece is quite satisfying, and additional ones are introduced at a quick rate, meaning there’s frequently something new to play with. I quite liked the other places to visit as well. The local flea market can sell you broken down old pieces for you to restore and display or sell on, and there’s even a storage locked location where you can buy an abandoned locker on sight and hope you find some absolute gems to repair. There’s clearly been thought put into the game.
The visuals are fine too, albeit nothing to write home about. There’s plenty of variety in the decorations you can buy for the rooms you unlock, such as display units, posters, and plants, on top of the usual wall and floor colourings. Music is as generic as it comes, and I miss the varied playlist and internet radio stations available in PC Building Simulator, but I would play this whilst listening to a podcast or audiobook anyway, so it’s not really a big deal. Sound effects are equally generic, with the same loud clunks and clanks regardless of how delicate the piece you’re working on is. It’s all fine, but nothing special.
It’s just a shame that The Repair House is let down by the larger, more interesting repair items, the ones you probably want to take apart over the likes of a book press. There’s enjoyment to be had here, but you’ll quickly learn what you’ll actually enjoy working on and what will be a slog. I liked the loop of taking jobs, buying parts, then working through the task to earn money and expand further, but it didn’t hold my attention as long as others in the genre. Maybe some patches and more content in the future will fix that…
The Repair House is available now on PC.