As picturesque as you want a pixel art vista to be, SUMMERHOUSE is an upcoming zen builder for Steam from Friedemann and published by Future Friends.

My detective skills have been on fire of late as I deduced that there was a recent VR festival due to loads of VR news, plus an increase in wholesome games. You guessed it, there is/was a festival on Steam.

Yay – no shooting, grinding or reading walls of text about inbred relationships, how to hold a wand, or working out how to block – SUMMERHOUSE is as chill as you like and is immediately pick up and play material.

SUMMERHOUSE Demo - Green
Green. Source: Steam

These first impressions are from the demo build, currently available on Steam, where you’re free to build some cosy little houses all in a row or create a solitary structure where you can retire away from social media and rubbish weather.

You can’t actually live in these houses, you nutter, but imagining it isn’t so hard when it immediately lets your mind wander and your creativity kicks in. It’s a city-building sandbox flavoured with zen.

In SUMMERHOUSE, there’s a UI column of options to begin with construction. There are no instructions, as you’d be restricting the options available. The best possible scenario is to click the buttons and find out what you can do with it.

SUMMERHOUSE
Source: Steam

Each building starts with a foundation, and while you won’t be laying down cement, you’ll have to adhere to gravity and build in blocks. Clicking on the build buttons gives the categories such as walls, doors, windows and vegetation. When you hover over where you want to position your object, you can scroll through a selection of styles or head to the menu for an overview.

Though the choices in SUMMERHOUSE aren’t infinite, the possibilities are endless. I found myself building apartment villas ready to rent out in my premature retirement, only to stumble upon some signage I wanted to add, a new tree, and then BOOM! A completely new building and objective!

On the topic of objectives, a lack of them can cause complacency and boredom – something I initially encountered with Ludde. However, crafted the right way, the freedom to almost do as you please from the get-go is brilliant as you’re building some picturesque landscapes you’d see on Deviantart, Pinterest or a toilet wall. If you live in an upmarket area.

Do you know what? It’d be amazing if you could export a scene as a movie to configure as an animated backdrop for your computer in the future. The art style in SUMMERHOUSE is brilliant. Mission accomplished: it is a beautifully lived-in environment where you are the architect of chill.