Is building Ikea furniture your idea of a good time? Well, hold onto your Napoleon hat, because there’s now a game for Mac and Windows that will allow you and up to three other players to simulate the maddening experience of constructing flat-pack furniture in a virtual living room, no Bjursta required.
Höme Improvisåtion—note the diacritics, which are to Ikea what umlauts once were to death metal bands—came out of Global Game Jam, a 48-hour event that challenges developers to create the best games they can make in a weekend. Besides its obvious Ikea inspirations, Höme Improvisåtion seems to purposely be in the same school as recent games like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Toast: cartoonish physics simulators masquerading as games. Depending on your tolerance for hyper-literal controls and wonky physics, these games are either absurdist masterpieces or psychological torture engines.
That’s part of what makes constructing flat-pack furniture such a dastardly addition to the genre: even in real life, trying to follow a set of Ikea instructions is already capable of destroying your relationships. But why pay Ikea for the honor of making you rip out your hair and smashing apart your love life when you can simulate it for free?
The gameplay of Höme Improvisåtion is fairly simple. It takes place in a living room, and as you play, boxes of flat-pack furniture are dropped in, which you can then construct by carefully rotating each individual piece and then dropping it, Tetris-style, into the corresponding holes. That’s more difficult than it sounds, because the game takes place from a fixed isometric perspective, which makes lining up the pegs with the holes particularly difficult.
Where Höme Improvisåtion gets brilliant, though, is that a friend can join in. What adds the madness is that once you fit a peg into a hole, you can’t get it out. It’s a boon for any player looking to act as an agent of chaos: for example, constructing a couch/lamp/chair hybrid while hysterically laughing as your OCD girlfriend throws her controller at the wall next to you because she can’t use the parts she needs to build something the right way.
It’s so good, I can’t help but wish Ikea would pay the devs to officiallly brand it. Designed by a team comprised of Aj Kolenc, Jessica Jackson, Colton Spross, and Josh Faubel, Höme Improvisåtion is available to download for free here.