The Sims Meets Property Management Simulations in the Upbeat Title The Tenants

Since taking over Modern Gamer, I’ve had the chance to play a wide variety of simulation games—from running a gas station to running a bussing company to running a bakery. The Tenants sort of falls in line with this trend in that you’re playing to become a successful landlord, but the game really wants you to be a good landlord. It’s an interesting experience to be sure.

Plot Ahoy!

You start out the game as a type of general contractor. You clean up messes, fix broken things, and generally earn money by being useful and taking odd jobs from landlords to fix up and repair tenant housing. You start out in the less desirable locations and move your way up as you earn funds and invest in better properties and better amenities.

Review Notes

Though The Tenants places you in the shoes of a landlord, it wants you to be a good landlord. Most of what you’ll do in the game is upgrade houses, unlock new furniture, and generally help around your community. The game gives you control over how you address the pests of which your tenants complain, but you do have to monitor your tenants’ overall emotional well-being. As you progress, you’ll even be able to give gifts to your tenants, which is an interesting addition.

You also unlock furniture that you can use to create perfect living spaces for the tenants you like. For the tenants you don’t, you have the option to annoy them enough to get them to move out of the property, which can be entertaining to do. However, rent isn’t going to be your main source of in-game income. Rather, you continue operating as a general contractor around the community, completing unfinished renovations, painting walls, and again, being generally helpful. The game does offer interesting structures for you to renovate. I found the pirate ship to be particularly fun. There may also be some properties that have been put to sketchy use, but I won’t spoil it more than that.

The game offers a surprisingly versatile building editor that allows you to design apartments and other spaces to suit orders you receive from tenants. Despite being limited to the existing buildings, the editor allows you to remove walls and select from a pretty comprehensive menu of flooring, wall papers, furniture, and other items that you’d see in an actual home. As you fulfill these orders successfully, you gain experience which contributes to unlocking further options.

The one wrinkle in the game, if one can call it that, is where pest control is involved – you should prioritize completing those assignments first. You don’t particularly want the tenant to get frustrated with you and hire a professional for a few reasons. First, that increases the costs, meaning that you lose currency that you could spend on the fancy chaise longue your tenant has had her eye on, and secondly, that damages your reputation in the community, which hampers your bargaining ability when setting rental contracts.

Visually, the game has that low-poly aesthetic, and the soundtrack is serviceable but not amazing. The second-best part of the title, though, is watching all the different animations the developers built into the tenants themselves. Sure, these provide you cues as to what you’re going to need to do, but also, they’re nicely done. However, the real fun of The Tenants is in designing these living spaces. Its wide variety of models and textures really shines here, so you don’t find yourself becoming bored by re-skinning the same couch over and over again.

TLDR

I could drag this review out, but I won’t. The Tenants is a great, wholesome experience with relatively low-stakes gameplay. If you liked The Sims and enjoy decorating homes, give the Tenants a whirl.

The Tenants retails for $24.99 on Steam, but given the amount of effort the developers put into it, the price is more than fair.

Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard

  1. You can really send a roving one-man-band after tenants you don’t like.
  2. Oh, there are earthquakes, so expect to get called in to repair them.
  3. There are three zones in which you get to play, and they’re pretty much exactly what you’d expect them to be, which is perhaps my only real complaint about the game. It seems a bit reductive.
  4. This is really a good pick up and put down title. However, some of the missions get repetitive really quickly.
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