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Early Access Furnish Master Needs Some Work, But It’s a Promising Relaxing Sim

Furnish Master early access screenshot
Image: Alex Blintsov

As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of people: those who play The Sims for live mode, causing chaos (and maybe taking away the ladders in swimming pools) and those who play the Sims for build mode. Me, I primarily fell into the latter camp (although taking away the odd swimming pool ladder was fun). In-game interior design was where I got my kicks, and nothing much has changed there.

These days, I enjoy the likes of House Flipper, but there’s a competitor of sorts fresh into the ring: Furnish Master. As its name suggests, it’s a sim game all about furnishing buildings — kitting out kitchens, designing bedrooms and even slapping a bit of colour on the walls. Released this week in early access, it’s far from being polished, but it shows some promise for fellow build mode connoisseurs.

The comparison to The Sims is particularly valid considering the viewpoint you play Furnish Master from: at a glance, the rooms you’re working in, top-down cutaways that can be rotated and zoomed into as you see fit, could very much be rooms from The Sims.

Furnish Master early access screenshot
Image: Alex Blintsov

They’re not, though, and sadly placing furniture is (currently) a fair bit fiddlier than it needs to be. Placing a pair of curtains took at least a dozen attempts as, for whatever reason, they wouldn’t snap to the wall. And if my viewpoint wasn’t quite right, I ended up placing them about a metre away from the window because it looked right. Nothing is as intuitive as it is in The Sims and it all feels a little more laborious. But it is still early access, and developer Alex Blintsov is very open that UI and controls (including gamepad) support are high on their priority list.

Put all that to the side, though, and there’s something really wonderful about being given complete control of a room to decorate. There are two modes to choose from here: sandbox and career. Jump into sandbox, and you can go absolutely wild with access to all furniture and tools with no restrictions. You don’t have to worry about budget: your only concern is decorating and furnishing the room of your dreams. The lack of limits is very cool, and you can let yourself get completely carried away.

Opt for career mode instead, and you’ll have various goals and challenges to work towards. With a map of a city, you’ll enter various apartments, where people have given you tasks to do. These start off pretty straightforward: cleaning up after a party, which involves removing some rubbish and straightening up some furniture. Later, they get more involved, including refitting and furnishing a full kitchen, down to the mugs and kitchen roll.

Furnish Master early access screenshot
Image: Alex Blintsov

Some puzzles are thrown into the mix in career mode, too. You might have to piece together the odd jigsaw puzzle or piece together a pipe system. It’s a nice way to break up the action, although they’ll be more fun to complete once the game’s controls have been tightened up. It’s particularly refreshing that each job you pick up seems to be so different from the last, with some giving more restrictions than others. And if you want to be completely free of restrictions, head for sandbox mode.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Furnish Master develops over the next several months: it’s destined to remain in early access for at least a year, where more content and more furniture will be added, amongst numerous other fixes. There’s already a good amount of choice, but it’s all very ordinary and of a similar style: I’d love to be able to decorate a medieval-themed room, perhaps, or something completely space-aged.

Still, nailing the basics is more important, and I’m very hopeful that, in time, I’ll be coming back to Furnish Master and won’t be able to draw myself away. All the key ingredients are there — it just needs a little fine-tuning.

Furnish Master is available now on PC via Steam Early Access.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.