My wonderful wife likes to tell a specific video game story whenever my friends come over. Quite a few years ago, I was diving deep into upgrading one of my homes in Skyrim. As she puts it, I spent hours upon hours redecorating and updating homes to fit the needs of my adventurer. She, along with my friends, always chuckle when I admit that I spent a lot of time doing that in Skyrim. Did I really spend that many hours redecorating? Probably not. But I will admit that redecorating and interior design is an activity that I find very relaxing. That relaxation was put to the test as I played through Tools Up!
Tools Up! can be described as the Overcooked of interior design. As a single-player (or with friends), your job is to fix an interior space based on the blueprint specifications of each level. The design options are pretty similar throughout your playthrough. You might tear up tile and put down carpet. Or take down wallpaper and repaint the walls. No matter what the specifications are, you have a short amount of time to tear down, repair, and clean up.
I don’t want to compare Tools Up! to Overcooked because there are some notable differences. For starters, you must pick up and hit a button command to see what each job entails. I liked the blueprint concept, but it definitely added to the stress of the job. It’s most likely included in the game to make things more challenging, but I would prefer having the directions automatically at the top of the screen.
Another difference deals with how you get supplies. As you play through each of the levels, you may come across supply deliveries. I really liked this feature because you must strategies when and how quickly you need to leave your task and grab the supplies. The delivery service will not wait for you to grab the supplies, and you might lose precious seconds waiting for delivery people to return with your supplies.
After each job, you need to clean up your mess. You must be careful because your trash bucket gets full very quickly. You must plan when to take the recycling to the dumpster outside. And heaven forbid you bump into something or spill the container. Precious seconds are lost if you have to clean up large messes. Overall, these aspects create a pretty challenging experience, especially in single-player mode.
The main question you must ask yourself with this genre is how does it play with friends? I’m happy to say that Tools Up! is hysterical with friends. Since you are working with interiors, space can be crowded. This adds a whole dimension of chaos as you bump into each other and take turns going through doorways. Because of the narrow space, it can be a little frustrating as you navigate and try not to make messes that screw up your partners. But despite the chaos, the game is so much fun to play with friends.
One of my favorite moments in my playthrough consisted of paint and doors. During the final minute of a level, I spilled paint near a doorway. As my friend slipped all over the place, he accidentally grabbed a door…and promptly tore it off the hinges. Needless to say, I was laughing so hard and almost failed the level trying to get the door back on. That moment and many others made the experience very enjoyable.
Technically speaking, the game runs pretty well. There were a few moments where the controls were not as precise as I like. This was very challenging in situations where supplies were very close together and I would pick up the wrong thing. I also wish there was a way to have one player freely move the camera angles. As is, the only way you can switch the camera angle is by holding the blueprints. For the most part, I didn’t need to change camera angles too much. But I do wish I didn’t have to waste time grabbing the blueprints in order to change the angle.
Tools Up! is a great entry in the simulation/party genre. It’s a blast to play with friends and provides a good deal of challenge. If you have someone who struggles with time limits, the party mode is a great option because the timer counts up instead of down, giving you more time to play. I hope that Tools Up! will be supported with future levels that add a little more creativity and wackiness to the game. It would be great to have more environmental challenges instead of only using lava and slippery floors in later levels. As is, Tools Up! is a great party game that will entertain your family…or frustrate them if they don’t communicate well.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
Very fun with friends
Some nice changes to the typical party game
Controls are not as crisp as I would like
Pretty straightforward; would love crazier environmental aspects in the levels