Tools Up! – Review
Follow Genre: Party
Developer: The Knights of Unity
Publisher: All In! Games
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: PS4

Tools Up! – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Theme, Gameplay
Bad: Clunky controls, Not as memorable than other similar titles
User Score
8.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the popularity of party games. Games such as Overcooked! and Catastronauts have been released on every platform available and also garnered more than enough attention, especially when looking at Team17’s title. Overcooked spawned a second game and loads of DLC to expand the many hours of fun that could be had in local co-op. Many other companies jumped on the bandwagon, but not that many succeeded in producing something as likable and enjoyable as the chaotic cooking game. This time we stumble upon another ‘clone’, namely Tools Up!, which tries to imitate the same hectic experience, albeit in the form of having to renovate houses in a party format. While the game didn’t turn out to be as hectic or well-polished, we had our share of fun with it.

Story

Tools Up! doesn’t have any story value whatsoever. There is no special setting you find yourself in, and there is no background on any of the available characters. You’ll find yourself in different scenarios in which you’ll have to renovate a house. This often involves painting walls, carpeting, cleaning and so on. While the game doesn’t really need a story or a setting, games such as Catastronauts and Overcooked succeeded in adding a bit more value to the game by adding a (flimsy) story to the equation.

Graphics

Graphically Tools Up! utilizes a cartoonish style. You’ll have comically overweight figures serving as the selectable characters, clearly pointing towards a stereotype of people in the construction business. While the characters themselves are decently designed and somewhat fun, a bit more diversity would have been nice. The locations also look decent, but many assets are overused and this also creates a lack of variation in the locations. Of course, the game caters to gamers by adding some hazards and different background themes, but underneath the subtle blanket, you’ll find the same thing over and over again. Nonetheless, for a game such as this, the style suffices and by keeping it simple, you’ll easily recognize what you’ll have to do to fix up the location you find yourself in.

Sound

Tools Up!’s sound design is not bad at all. While the characters in the game are mute, the background music is somewhat cinematic and ‘grand’ for the tasks at hand. When you’re actually focusing on the gameplay, the music doesn’t stand out too much, which also means it won’t become annoying as time progresses. Even though things aren’t that memorable in the sense of having songs getting stuck in your head, the overlapping soundtrack is quite pleasant.

Gameplay

Tools Up! is a party game that is designed for co-op play. In this game, you’ll have to clear different levels by fixing up the building you’re in. You’ll have to plaster walls, put down carpets, paint, mix cement and so on. Overall the concept is pretty clear, but sometimes certain materials look alike and also need the same objects, making it harder to see which task you’ll have to perform, and which one you should start with. Nonetheless, just like in Overcooked, you’ll find a certain pace and if you are able to work together properly, you can clear the levels with the highest star rating possible.

As the game progresses, you’ll have to perform more and more actions to redecorate or fix-up a house. You’ll start off easy with only one or two different options, but you slowly get more and more on your plate. The game might not be as diverse as other similar titles, but the foundation is pretty good. You’ll have to find your pace with other players and for the most part, this game is really designed as a co-op title. The challenges aren’t really adapted to a single-player experience, which is understandable, but it should have been designed as such as well. As it stands now, you can play titles such as Overcooked on your own, but Tools Up! isn’t tailored the same way. It clearly is a game in which it’s all about ‘the more the merrier’, which is great, but you should be able to properly enjoy yourself alone as well, especially seeing you have the option to play the game alone.

There’s are a few issues with the game, but mainly it are the controls that are very clunky. It’s hard to trigger the item you want to work with or the tile or wall piece you have to do something with. More than often you select the wrong item, or the wrong action to perform on said item, and then your next move is hampered by your character shaking his head to let you know he can’t perform what you asked of him. Dropping items outside is also a drag, as you get little room to drop all the materials to empty out the house, and you’ll find yourself waddling around with items frequently, looking for the ideal spot, as dropping it to close to another item will once again trigger your character’s inability to said task.

Unlike Team17’s game, Tools Up! is a lot more casual and relaxed. You’ll often find yourself strolling about the level, to perform tasks. Of course, there’s a time limit, but if you try out the level you’re in to see the tasks at hand and then restart it, you will often clear the stage without that many issues.

Conclusion

While Tools Up! definitely has some negative points when looking at the single-player aspect or the overall controls, the game is a fun party experience. With a few patches and polishing this could just as well be a competitor for games such as Overcooked and Catastronauts. We know we compared the game to these two titles a lot, but in our humble opinion, they have become a bit of the benchmark for games such as this. If you like the other games we mentioned, but want to play at a more leisurely pace, then Tools Up! might be a great game to learn the ropes of its hectic siblings.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Tools Up! - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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