What does it take to be a landlord? Well, according to Kairosoft's latest free Android simulation Dream House Days, more than a keen eye for flattering curtains and well-maintained bathtubs. You've got to be willing to meddle in the lives of your tenants to a shocking degree, from love life to career and beyond. It's not invasive... it's what they expect, in fact! Over the course of twenty years, you'll be responsible for building and maintaining not only a growing complex of apartments, but the well-being and recruitment of all the people living within. That, uh. Sort of sounds like a lot of pressure.
Initially, all you'll have is a single apartment and tenant, so spend some time experimenting with his (or her) life for your own edutainment. It's up to you to buy furnishings that impact not only the comfort and incoming rent of each apartment, but can increase the stats of the people living inside... important for everything from finding a job to growing a family. You can even make separate rooms by selecting and laying down different flooring. Don't get too carried away, though, since furnishings cost you money, and you need to take into consideration the overall income of the person renting or they won't be able to pay the full amount. Just keep an eye on your currencies. Cash is self-explanatory, but research points are used to get new items as well as buy certain things, and the extremely rare tickets can be used to buy particular items or purchase "scratches" that let you get a shot at getting rare items for free. If you don't like the ads at the bottom of the screen, you can upgrade to an ad-free version via an in-game purchase, or get extra tickets the same way if you so desire. Tickets are also earned one for both each title you earn, and every seven minutes of actual playtime (paid upon restarting the game).
While you won't have much to do initially other than watch your peeps putter about and occasionally bequeath a massage chair from the heavens if you're feeling generous, over time you'll have more to keep you busy as you have more tenants to manage. To grow your fledgling apartment complex, select an empty apartment and choose to recruit prospective tenants, who will show up after a certain time to tour the place. If you've made it comfortable and appealing, you could have more than one potential renter to choose from. It's not all about money when it comes to renters, however, so don't automatically lean towards Mister Moneybags every time. Things like skill level, job, personality, and even relationships are important to consider, and sometimes someone with a lower deposit might have more to offer you in the long run. From time to time, your people will come to you seeking advice on everything from their jobs and schooling to romance, and the advice you give them (as well as whatever you might be willing to pay to help them along) determines their success. Eventually, you'll have entire families in your apartments as the tenants grow and age, including pets. With jobs ranging from adventurer to movie star and beyond, it all comes down to whether you're willing to fork out the cash to buy them what they need to succeed. Which... sounds actually nothing like actually renting an apartment, unless I've been doing it wrong all along.
Like all Kairosoft titles, Dream House Days takes a long time to really get rolling, and you'll spend a lot of time just hunched over your phone watching your tenants trundle about like the world's creepiest omnipresent voyeur. (Please at least scroll away when they start grunting and sighing on the toilets.) The game is essentially an extremely pared down version of the Sims, where the limited player interaction winds up turning it almost into a sort of sea-monkeys-eque toy. Considering the price tag, however (free!), it's entirely worth giving it a shot because once you've spent some time unlocking things the game really does become queerly addictive. Watching your little people grow up, grow old, get married, and become successful really is satisfying, and the sheer variety of items to unlock and place lets you really design some intricate apartments. Dream House Days may not have too much depth, but it just might be one of the most casually enjoyable sims you can put your hands on and have trouble putting down. Colourful, silly, and a lot of fun, Dream House Days is the perfect way to fill your time and get creative.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the HTC One S. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.