Presented by EA GameChangers. Early access for this review was provided by Electronic Arts.
With perhaps the longest title to grace a Sims pack, Dream Home Decorator is the latest game pack offering for The Sims 4!
Launching on June 1st 2021 on PC, Mac, Playstation and Xbox, the pack promises to allow players to step into the role of being a home decorator and transform spaces for clients! Initially the pack stood out as being designed for builders and reminded me of one of the careers from The Sims 3 Ambitions – as someone who is useless at building, I was hoping this would give me the motivation to enter build mode more and inspire me!
Let’s dig into what this game pack offers and my thoughts from playing with it.
What can I do with a “Dream Home Decorator” pack?
In short, this game pack allows you to work as an interior decorator. This is an active career where you can apply for jobs, go to the lots you are re-decorating, and climb the ladder to be able to take on bigger and better gigs. It works very similar to the gig system in the Get Famous expansion pack.
As you accept these tasks, you will be able to meet your clients to understand their likes, dislikes and expectations for when you re-decorate their home. They may tell you how much they hate a particular object, for example, which means you should avoid that when you’re buying new things! You’ll then get a budget and be let free in buy mode to make everything happen.
Once you’ve finished, you can show it off to the client and get their opinions! You’ll also get a fun “before and after” slideshow, using photos you take with your Sims, so you can reflect on your hard work. You’ll quickly learn if the client loves it, or absolutely hates it!
Becoming an Interior Decorator
To test out the new gameplay, I decided to transform my Shania Twain sim into an interior decorator! Abandoning her singing career, I got her to quickly pick up the phone and join the decorator career.
As mentioned, this is an active career that you can join your Sim at and this is where you’ll experience most of the gameplay that this pack has to offer. Though, if you don’t want to join your Sim, you can just send them off to work and they’ll come back at the end of the day. Though, if you plan to just do this, I’d stop here and not bother buying the pack.
After you’ve joined the career, you are then able to find a gig for your Sim. As mentioned, this is almost identical to the way the gig system works in the Get Famous pack. You will be able to select a few basic ones to get started and as you climb the ladder, you’ll be eligible for bigger clients with different requirements.
When reviewing the gigs that are available, it will tell you who the client is, along with their budget, the start time, type of lot, and the sort of work they’re looking to have done. This could just be a room renovation, or may involve building an entirely new room!
A Buggy First Experience
Once you’ve selected your gig, you will then need to wait until the start time arrives. At this moment, you should get a dialog that appears inviting you to go to the lot to meet the clients and begin your renovations. You may be asking why have I said ‘should‘… well, my experience was quite different. Perhaps it’s as this is an early access build, but perhaps it’s a bug.
When it was time for my job to start, nothing happened. No pop ups, nothing. As I knew which family it was, I assumed I had to manually travel to their lot and this allowed me to start my first gig – however there were no clients to be found and I couldn’t summon them there! This mean’t I had to go into the job completely blindfolded with no knowledge of their likes/dislikes, making it particularly hard to have any idea of what to do or place down!
Once you have finished your renovations and have took before/after photos, it is time for the big reveal. You’ll firstly get to watch a fun little presentation showing off your selected before/after photos to a nice piece of upbeat music, which is a fun little feature to look back on the work you’ve done.
The reveal event itself plays out like a social event or other active careers from Get to Work, with various tasks you need to complete. This involves showing off objects, chatting with clients, and then – once they’re ready – asking for a final verdict. You could very visibly see from the clients reactions that they were angry, and one of them were even crying!
I mean, I thought I did a pretty good job with spicing up their living room!
But, despite this, my Sim eventually picked up on the vibe that she didn’t do a very good job…
Once I asked for the final verdicts – which took some time for the clients to be ready for – nothing happened. I could tell they hated it but again no dialogs. Not only that, the game didn’t realise I was done so once I finally left the lot and returned home, it sent my Sim back to work and din’t take me with them. A dialog then appeared on her return saying how much they liked the work.
Now I appreciate I have described something that stems from a bug, and hopefully this was a one-off weird experience, but this wasn’t ideal for my first time experiencing the game pack as it’s quite a serious experience-breaking bug. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone! So, to make sure I had the full experience, I ended up trying again which thankfully went more to plan.
Second Time’s The Charm… Right?
I am pleased to report that when I tried another gig that the experience was as it should be, which made it a lot more enjoyable and easier to understand what to do!
When you are due to go to a lot, a dialog does infact pop up and tell you all about it.
Interviewing the clients was also very helpful too, as it told me their likes and dislikes. However it was quite vague still in terms of direction – I guess that is to allow players to get creative but I feel like a more full brief would have been great as you still feel like you’re going in a little directionless.
For example, my client said they liked robotics, hated contemporary design, and hated video games. To try and make sure they liked it, I just placed down a robotics workbench! I was quite limited with options too as The Sims 4 is full of modern, contemporary objects.
One thing I noticed as I was re-decorating on my second attempt was that if you try to delete items from the clients house, it goes into the household inventory. But you can not access the inventory because you are at a clients house… so there is no way to retrieve the objects again! This made it particularly difficult when I was renovating a bedroom and I couldn’t get the bed back.
To make that even weirder, the objects ended up in my own Sims household inventory, so I could have them all when I got back to my own lot. So, you could in theory steal furniture from customers. This doesn’t seem right and hopefully will get fixed as you should only be getting those items on the lot, surely?
Once you complete the job, you will get a summary screen telling you how the performance was and how much you have been paid too. All in all, this was a much better experience however there were still some bumps on the way as I have described above.
This gameplay does give me the motivation to go into build mode and attempt to build rooms, which is great for someone like me who isn’t a builder! However, at the same time, there isn’t much more to it than build mode and repeating the interactions with your clients at every build.
Other Notable Features
Now if the gameplay starts to get a bit repetitive and isn’t your thing, there are some other notable new additions in this pack in terms of objects!
A lot of the items in build/buy mode are not groundbreaking – it’s many different combinations and styles of bunk beds, and various items all in similar modern styles. It feels a bit like IKEA furniture (which isn’t a bad thing!). I think I just expected some more interesting items for a dream home decorator game pack, whereas it feels a little light and repetitive!
Modular sofas and modular shelving are the key stand out objects which will allow you to create some interesting new builds for your Sims. The modular sofas are great and allow you to create all sorts of shapes in your home as you click them together, and this is perhaps one of the stand out items in this pack.
It also reminded me a lot of the fancy modular sofas you could get in The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff Pack!
Modular shelving also makes an appearance with lots of wall items you can click together and create some really interesting storage solutions for your Sims. The way this works is that the initial item is the “parent”, or the main piece that you can use to move the entire collection of shelving you’ve clicked together. The other items you attach to the parent are the “child” shelves.
I quite like this new feature as it will allow some fun new options for when you are building, but you will need to get good at knowing what items to put together and have an eye for design. My shelving didn’t look too great…
Though, one of the really neat things is that you can then actually use it as a storage solution for your Sims. Notice how I am able to put things on top and in the little cubby holes too. I am excited to see what builders do with both of these new additions to the game!
Again, the only downside is that it all has a very similar look and feel to it.
The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator Game Pack (which desperately needs a more catchy name) is an interesting new idea that The Sims team have tried, and it’s great that we’re able to explore new ideas now with The Sims 4 being 6+ years old.
Though, perhaps as I am not a builder, I don’t think it will be gameplay that I continue to explore for a long period of time as I feel it will get repetitive. It is essentially gameplay focused around build mode and doesn’t go much further than that, though it does give you more of a purpose to enter this if you are not a builder.
There are also some interesting bugs that I experienced as I reviewed this which affected my experience, and I hope some of them can be fixed such as the household inventory.
I love the new modular sofas, shelving and some of the additional objects – such as this cute kids tent that is in the pack – though I feel like there could have been much more interesting items to decorate your Sims’ home with instead of an abundance of bunk beds taking up most of the new objects in this game pack.
Overall, Dream Home Decorator is great if you love active careers and are looking for something new, or if you love building and want to get stuck in! However, if you are not keen on build mode then I would say to wait for this pack to be put on sale so you can take advantage of the new modular objects.
The Dream Home Decorator Game Pack explores a new idea though doesn’t quite hit the mark. With its buggy and repetitive gameplay, I don’t think many of my Sims will become interior decorators once I’ve had a few more attempts at renovating properties.
It will be released on PC, Mac, Playstation and Xbox on June 1st 2021.
Presented by EA GameChangers. Early access for this review was provided by Electronic Arts.