Castaway Home Designer review - A throwaway furniture placing simulator

If you were to somehow end up as a castaway on a desert island, your first port of call would likely be to create some kind of SOS signal, paint a face on a football, and start praying someone finds you.

What's not likely to be at the top of your to do list is to start designing luxury homes for strangers, but in Castaway Home Designer that's all you'll ever do.

At least you would if the game actually gave you the tools to the job, stopped restricting you from making progress, and in general was actually fun.

Broken homes

Castaway Home Designer does basically what it says on the tin – you need to design homes for people, except it's on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Each house has its own set of objectives to complete, such as placing a certain number of items down, moving objects around, removing items, and so on.

Each owner also has their own taste, and you'll need to work out their likes and dislikes if you're going to get the style rating up.

Thankfully the game keeps track of these stats, breaking it down to show you just how much of an effect some items are having on the rating, helping you make the right choices.

There's plenty of scope to design the house to your own liking, and there's thousands of items to unlock and use, so you can really get into the nitty gritty of home design should you choose.

Spare parts

That is if you can get the items in the first place. You unlock new objects through packs of cards, which are awarded for completing bonus objectives or buying them from the shop.

This isn't a bad way to unlock new items, and once you've found them, you can always buy more of the same item using gems you make in-game.

What ruins this system is that objectives will regularly require you to put down a very specific object, which you almost certainly won't have.

You can keep opening packs and crossing your fingers, but leaving the game's objectives down to sheer dumb luck is annoying and means you'll be skipping around the levels with a number of unfinished goals lying around.

If you get truly stuck you can always just kind of cheat the game – items placed can be picked up after objectives are completed, and can shift them over to wherever you may need them.

Tools down

This all amounts to a game that is a mix of frustrating and kind of dull. Castaway Home Designer has an interesting idea at its core, but it never works out quite right.

It’s a mix of infuriating design choices that limit progression, and limited gameplay that is easily broken to your will.

The game's cute presentation and general chill vibe prevent it from being truly awful, but if you're hoping for freedom and fun in your home designer, you should look elsewhere.

Castaway Home Designer review - A throwaway furniture placing simulator

It may look the part, but Castaway Home Designer is too restrictive and basic to keep you entertained
Ric Cowley
Ric Cowley
Ric was somehow the Editor of Pocket Gamer, having started out as an intern in 2015. He hopes to take over the world the same way.