Tool’s Up (PC) Review
Positive Co-op Gameplay
Lack of Single-Player Options
Have you ever wondered if you could tackle a home renovation project? How about if your friends are capable of working together? Or if all those idioms such as “Haste makes waste” or a “Stich in time saves nine” are as accurate as people claim? If so, then Tool’s Up is perfect for you as this silly party game will answer all of these questions and more, all without having to leave your chair.
Tool’s Up is an entertaining cooperative endeavor that requires you and up to three additional friends to complete minor renovation projects within a set time frame. Levels are designed so that finishing specific tasks award points and the number of points acquired at the end of the time limit result in a set rating. The individual tasks are usually simple to execute, following the format of interact with object A and then interact with matching object B. The challenge comes in the form of limited tools, limited space, and time management. Most of these things are self-explanatory, but a clever challenge introduced is one of a messy work area. As part of your tasks, you will either need to clean up your area of rubbish that was already there or something you made when you inevitably knock something over. Failing to clean up this waste will not only cost you points but can cause your character to trip and do an exaggerated prat-fall costing you precious seconds.
While very fun, Tool’s Up does have it’s share of problems. While capable of being enjoyed by a single player, it was designed to be a party-style game and is best played with multiple people. Unfortunately, there is no online option, only couch co-op, and there are no AI-driven characters. While it’s nice to see a couch co-op, having this as an only option severely limits playability, and no AI characters mean it’s almost impossible for a single player to complete later levels. Also worth mentioning is that the interaction interface is inconsistent. When multiple choices are near each other, there is no real way to choose which one to interact with other than spinning in place and hoping your target gets highlighted.
Graphically Tool’s up is designed with humor in mind. Character design is extremely cartoonish with distorted body proportions and movement animation that is comedic in nature, bordering on almost slapstick. Level designs are bright and whimsical, with matching background music that doesn’t detract from gameplay. The only real complaints are minor at best. One is that the color palettes are hard to distinguish when displayed in the blueprint mode, making for a bit of guesswork in later levels. Another is that the background music isn’t long enough to match the time limit; this causes a looping pattern that can be annoying at times.
Tool’s Up is an amusing game. It uses a unique format not usually seen in this medium and has a light-hearted touch making it suitable for all ages. While in its current state playability may be limited depending on your gaming set-up, additional updates may change this and make it more accessible to all players. At the very least, it’s worth checking out as a multiplayer alternative.