Laborious, grey, sardonic – not concepts you’d expect to craft a compelling game, but somehow Landlord’s Super manages it. As someone born and raised largely in the Midlands, there’s something about this game’s depiction of poverty and pub culture that speaks to my soul, but I’m sure anyone even vaguely acquainted with the eccentricities of our culture will find the bleak town, only coloured by the cast of weird individuals that inhabit it, would find it interesting.
It takes a little while to get into the swing of things. I spent most of my early days in futile visits to the Job Centre, collecting meagre sums whilst selling whatever I could to the scrap merchant to afford an evening in the pub with my first friend and dodgy business associate Scouse Jimmy. Just like my ancestors did, presumably. Eventually I gathered enough funds to begin renovating my collapsing first home, and got to work fixing foundations and laying concrete.
Here’s the thing. Landlord’s Super is a sandbox where you’re free to do whatever you want at your own pace. The environments are small, but intimate, and you’ll regularly bump into the same faces every day as you go about your business. It’s a sandbox with an admittedly drab theme – a first time home-owner in an impoverished English town. The way it recreates that theme is nothing short of sublime, though, and I’d say it’s such a strong part of the game’s DNA that it carries the construction elements.
If you don’t gel with Landlord’s Super‘s atmosphere, you probably won’t want to stick with it for the construction part of the game. It’s tedious, long-winded and requires a lot of in-game hours to get anywhere. While this is probably a far more accurate depiction of renovating a house, it doesn’t exactly make for a fun game for most people. Which is why they’ve thrown in the ability to go and get shitfaced at the pub whenever you fancy it. DIY is always more fun after a couple of pints.
This being England in the eighties, even your best DIY efforts won’t end up looking that great. There’s quite a small level of satisfaction to be had from completing projects, and most of the the game’s fun definitely comes from the ambience and interactions with locals. The size of the town and cast of characters means this will quite quickly run its course so unless you really get stuck in to the building element, it won’t be something you’re playing for very long.
Landlord’s Super overall thoughts
For better or for worse, Landlord’s Super is a remarkably accurate simulation of the English Midlands. It can be bleak, murky and it will rain for days on end, setting back any hopes you had of achieving anything outside of the pub. It’s also a surprisingly detailed construction simulator, which will require painstaking effort and attention to succeed with. It’s like House Flipper with about fifty extra steps, which will delight some and exhaust others.
I’m not sure Landlord’s Super is a particularly astonishing game. The construction is fun once you figure it out, but you have to have a decent wellspring of patience and a willingness to learn the processes to get anywhere. What really shines is its depiction of the Midlands and bizarre cast of characters so familiar you might have met them before in a dingy pub somewhere. Whether it’s the endless days of rain or the simple, powerful visual of a small pub lounge filled with cigarette smoke, Landlord’s Super feels like home – for better and for worse.
Landlord’s Super is available now on Steam.