There’s a lot of love out there for grim Britain, but not a lot of actual love letters to it. Thankfully we now have Landlord’s Super, a true homage to the true bleakness of northern 1980s England that’s also a weirdly addictive renovation-and-miserable-life simulator from Minskworks, the developer behind cult car-fixing sim Jalopy.
It’s in early access at the moment, so the scope’s a little limited – and the game’s pretty easily finished, taking about five hours or so for now – but what’s there is great. The premise is this: you wake up in a caravan to find that you’ve successfully exercised your right to buy – as a privileged southerner born in the 90s I’m unfamiliar, but that’s a Thatcherite scheme allowing you to buy your own council house, my butler tells me – but the problem is, your council house is a mess. It’s missing bricks, missing foundations, missing internal walls, windows, roofing, the works.
You’re also skint, which means it’s time to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and also time to get acquainted with the main premise of Landlord’s Super: you can graft, which is slow and repetitive and boring, or you can cut a few corners. At every milestone of your renovation there’s a little bit of temptation to bend the rules, like a tipoff from the local chancer that there’s some loose bricks from a crumbling wall just by the pub, or a load of free materials in someone’s back garden. The point being that a town stripped of its jobs from mine closures and completely dearth of investment isn’t exactly the land of opportunity.