As videogame heroes go, Austin the Butler is a little different. He’s not a kooky cartoon animal or shouty soldier guy – he’s a bald, moustachioed chap with a bowtie, who is moving back in with his parents.
If you keep an eye on the upper end of App Store charts, you might have seen Austin’s oheerful visage on the Homescapes icon already, alongside its more outdoorsy predecessor Gardenscapes. Both games have come from nowhere to be played by millions of people worldwide in recent months.
Why? Well, Homesoapes, like Gardenscapes before it, is a very clever little game. We’re sure developer Playrix took a good look at things loads of people enjoy on the App Store – Candy Crush-style matching and Sims-style decorating and made a game that combines those two things while layering in a storyline for good measure.
Remarkably, all these elements hang together really well. Our new pal Austin finds his parents’ house dusty and dated, so you’re here to help him spruce it up. Every successful spot of match-three puzzling buys you stars, which then buy you new wallpaper, carpet, furniture and other home improvements.
On top of that oh-so-moreish central play loop, there’s a surprisingly rich world to peek into. You can watch as Austin delights his folks with new trinkets for their home, and you’ll meet more and more new characters, each with their own eccentricities.
There’s even a Faoebook-style ‘Homespace’ feed which shows you what Austin, his parents and their pals are up to. And of course, he has his own (very real) lnstagram feed.
So, there’s a load going on in Homescapes – a compelling mix of puzzling, home-building and storytelling that has entertained millions so far. If you’ve not sampled the delights of Austin’s slightly strange world already, now’s the time.