It is funny how trends come and go, even with Video games. When the games industry started most games were a single player offering with only a high score table for you to compete with your friends, then as games evolved you got multiplayer, fighting your buddy on the couch and then came online multiplayer in your room on your own with headphones.
We are now seeing a return to not only games with an amazing cinematic single player experience but thankfully that fun couch multiplayer experience is returning!
For me nothing compares to sitting together with friends and putting that friendship to the test! The latest game ‘Tools Up’ from Knights of Unity and All in! Games really does this! Working along the same lines as Overcooked, Tools up gets you working as decorators renovating rooms in an apartment block. The task is to find the blue prints and work out what is needed to be done. It could be a paint job, putting down a new floor or even plastering a wall before you decorate. As you do the jobs you create rubbish that needs cleaning up and as with all good co-op games the more hectic things get the more tension and fun there is!
Remove the door and flung it across the room!
So how does it play? Well pretty good to be honest! You can play solo but if you do expect to find yourself playing a pretty dull frustrating game. Add a friend or three and the game comes to life! You all bustle around the apartment stripping wallpaper, painting the walls, fixing the floor and laying carpet using just two buttons – pickup/drop or use/action. If you’re not near anything or anyone it all works fine, however get close to another character and you will end up picking up them, the furniture or anything else that isn’t nailed down! The controls are responsive but just slightly fuzzy adding to the feel of a bumbling handyman. Is this a flaw of the game? Not in the slightest! It is the kind of frustrating thing that adds to all the fun of the game. You bump into each other, knock the paint over causing more mess for you to slip on and fall over, wasting your valuable time. I even had a door not closing so I could not strip the wall behind it, in a bit of a tussle I suddenly found I had removed the door and flung it across the room knocking over my daughters character and a pot of paint causing even more mayhem that then needed fixing resulting in failing the job at hand. This ended in much shouting and laughter! You pass the level by completing all of the jobs required, clearing up all the mess and removing everything from the apartment!
Aggghhhhhh it’s all so frustrating!
As you progress higher in the apartment block things get more and more complicated with the addition of having to plaster walls and screed floors then waiting for them to dry before you can continue. This means your bucket is in use with that so creating rubbish with something else has you running to the skip outside to dispose of it but oh! You can’t do that because the floor is wet and we can’t walk on it! Aggghhhhhh it’s all so frustrating! I just removed that door for the third time! I’ve knocked over my daughters character with the door, bugger it the delivery man has arrived outside with the carpet we need. We can’t get out because that floor is still wet and the delivery man is about to give up and leave, meaning we have to wait for him to come back! I can’t remove that wallpaper because the chair is in the way and I just knocked the paint over again and that time limit is just so brutal! You may think adding more players would make it easier however it just means you make more mess as you get in each other’s way and knock more things things over and the time limit just gets tighter and tighter!
Tools up! Is almost a carbon copy of Overcooked with a different skin although it does feel very different as you know everything that needs completing from the start, it’s just a matter of getting it all done as quickly as possible!
One down side is there is no tutorial and it does take a few goes to work it all out. As tasks are added you get a quick picture on what to do, but I can almost guarantee you will fail on your first try as you work out what it meant. Then different ways of picking up your supplies are added! How about fishing them out of a stream as they rush by? On completion of the level you will be given a score and a measure of 3 stars and completing it will unlock the next!
Is it as fun as Overcooked?
Is it as fun a couch co-op as Overcooked! Yes definitely and it looks as great too, with lots of cute characters to choose to play as with more unlocking as you play.
With the addition of Party mode you can play a selection of 12 rooms and the idea is to do them as quickly as possible! The only down side to this is there is no leader board just a record time, it could have done with a way to record who did the record maybe? I also kinda miss a Vs mode where teams of two go head to head, I’m not sure how this could work with Tools Up though? Another massive down side is no online play? Now I know it is meant to be played with people in the same room and overcooked is the same but where Overcooked2 won was with the addition of playing with your buddies over the internet! With the addition of discord for chat it works amazingly well! Maybe that is something for Tools Up2?
We played on the Switch version and there appears no slowdown or technical issues at all and is nice and smooth, with the addition of being able to play in table-top mode anywhere this type of game is made for the switch! Even if the screen is a little small!
So if you are looking for a couch party co-op game and you are done with the stress of the restaurant world Tools Up! Is a welcome addition to the genre that makes it instantly accessible with just enough differences to keep you playing! A solid fun game but definitely only for group play.