For months, I have been perilously locked in a colourful hell with little hope of escape. I have been toiling day and night, breaking block after block after block. I have been trapped in a dumbass mobile shame pit with little help of rescue. And the chief cause of my capture has been Austin, the awful shithead from Homescapes, and his terrible derelict house that will never, ever be fixed.
Several moons ago, in a weak moment, I succumbed to one of the many traps of time-stealing iPhone games: I saw an in-game ad for another game, and then I went ahead and downloaded that game.
That subsequent game happened to be Homescapes, and it has ruined my life.
Lured in by the promise of an insane game that teased the ability to literally murder a man by making him plug a fish tank leak with a live toaster, I instead found myself hopelessly trapped in an increasingly ridiculous puzzle game that has roughly the same hypnotic effect on the brain as 7 pints and a 3-hour slap of the pokies.
Homescapes, on paper, is a simple game: You pass the puzzle levels, you earn stars, you use the stars to help Austin rebuild and renovate his house.
The only problem being you will never fully renovate the house. The house will, in some meaningful way, remain forever derelict no matter how many godforsaken levels you pass.
This feckless bald asshole – a butler, so we’re lead to believe – swans about all day getting hopelessly distracted by menial tasks without care for your own time or the renovation star budget which routinely blows out on a day-to-day basis.
Throughout the whole ordeal Austin is entirely complimentary of you. You view his world top down, and he routinely looks to the heavens at you – cast in this world as a god – and sings your praises. With machine-gun frequency this insane bow-tied fruitcake hoots and hollers at me in praise of “Tud” (the game would not let me name my character “Turd” [Austin’s cat is called “Bütte” for similar reasons]). And yet I want him to straight-up fucken die.
Of his crimes, and there are many, Austin has wasted hours of my life sooking about how the kitchen must be renovated, only to get completely sidetracked for 5-6 stars worth of tasks because his whining Mum wants to bake cakes on a TV show.
I sunk weeks – weeks – of my precious spare hours ignoring a clearly dilapidated staircase because some rusty suit of armour was holding the key to a long-lost family treasure, which wound up being “love.”
But worst of all – even beyond all of that – Austin forced me (yes, forced) to lay awake into the depths of night repeatedly because he required stars to court this waif-like trollop named Katherine.
Katherine’s whole deal is that she fixes flowers, and is tediously in love with Austin. Austin can’t act on it, though, because he lacks stars. There is no amount of stars in the world that will allow him to act on his terrible urges. No matter how many stars I pour into this suspenders-wearing lunatic, he finds repeated excuses to dodge it.
Months of my life have disappeared watching these two circle each other like guilt-ridden Catholics at a post-church dessert bar. The earth has spun on its axis repeatedly and I have whiled away that time begging them to get it over with.
And then a week or so ago, somewhere around level 730-odd, Austin and Katherine finally went to “watch the fireworks” together. But do you think they allowed me – Tud, God, gifter of stars, fixer of houses, creator and overseer of this shitty world which I am both in complete control of and cannot possibly escape – to view this magical moment?
Hell no. They “watched” the “fireworks” off-screen, and have since been dicking about the house together like nothing ever happened.
So for that reason – many others too, but mainly this – I wish dearly for Austin and his entire bullshit house to be swallowed up by the earth beneath it. And I will collect as many stars as it takes to make that happen.