Whilst Tools Up! has been around for some time, it is a game that I have always been meaning to get around to but never have. Now I have come to the point of writing a review for this excellent ultimate edition, I am kicking myself for not playing it sooner. What initially attracted me to the game was the fact it seems along a similar line to games such as Overcooked, Moving Out, and Get Packed. All of these mentioned titles provide fast, frantic, and fun gameplay alone, but are also renowned for memorable experiences among friends. Whilst there are no online multiplayer elements, there are great times to be had with local multiplayer.
If you’re like me and haven’t played Tools Up! before, then you may be left thinking, what is so ultimate about the Ultimate Edition? This version contains the original base game along with all updates and also includes the Garden Party DLC which adds a further 45 levels of goodness. This is a meaty package of content especially if you’re a newcomer to the game. A pre-warning though, this game is incredibly moreish and you’ll be addicted from the beginning as you attempt to ace every level. Perfectionists will be frustrated as it has that element of “just one more go”.
It is a rarity that an indie title gets its hooks in me from the off, but Tools Up! did exactly that, and whilst I didn’t get much testing in with local multiplayer, I did have a blast working through all the levels. As you’d probably guess, it is like most games of this caliber where things start pretty simple and as the levels unlock, the experience gets progressively more difficult. It is like a mish-mash between Overcooked and House Flipper as your main task at hand is to jump in and decorate dwellings in a set time.
As you enter each level you’ll see a blueprint and observing this will indicate how each level needs to be decorated. It could be a case of simply painting walls a certain color, laying some carpet down, tidying up, and getting out. Fast forward down the line a few levels and you’ll be stripping walls and plastering walls before painting, pulling up flooring, and relaying it with several obstacles set out to slow you down. I enjoyed using a methodical approach to each level as I was figuring out how to complete each one as fast as possible. This resulted in me restarting levels several times to nail it to a tee.
You’ll find that there are all manner of things to disrupt your decorating experience. It may be that there are lots of furniture in the room that you have to shift, paint spillage or debris strewn across the floor and delivery men ringing the doorbell every 2 minutes with the rest of the gear you need to finish the job. Timing is absolute key here and if you take too long to complete certain tasks, the timer will run out on you. Getting everything absolutely spot on will earn you the highest score and a star rating on each level up to a maximum of three. Completing levels will unlock more as you progress climbing up floors in a lift in between each decorating run.
Visually Tools Up! looks pretty basic but the bright and vivid colours that fill the levels look the part on the big screen. I did find the blueprints a little tricky to understand at times to the point that some levels took repeated runs to match what I was doing. The soundtrack could do with a little variety and I did find myself having to switch the music off after ten minutes or so as it became far too repetitive. As for the physics in character movement, this was spot on and even though there was the odd moment of clunk picking objects up and putting them down, the performance was smooth.
I had way more fun with Tools Up! than I expected I would and I love how much this caters to the solo player. Titles such as Overcooked and Moving Out get to a point where it gets super tricky playing alone. I’d estimate to clock all the levels you are realistically looking at over 20 hours of gameplay, I still have a few to go myself! Also, take into consideration that local co-op adds a layer of longevity and replayability to the game. Whilst I didn’t manage to test it out, there is also a new PvP game mode where you carry out tasks against the clock and each other whilst also being able to interfere with their work. It is a game I highly recommend if you are looking for a great laugh on the same console with multiple players and even something enjoyable on your own.
- An insane amount of levels to work through across the base game and DLC
- New PvP mode for local multiplayer adds more content for players
- A big whack of gameplay hours for those who have never played Tools Up!
- The blueprints can be a little confusing to understand at times
- Controls do feel slightly fiddly and unresponsive sometimes
- Rotating the camera view with only the blueprint is frustrating