Sally’s Salon is another one of those time management/consumer service casual games inspired by Cake Mania. The graphics, goals, ability to upgrade your salons and even the storyline are reminiscent of the popular Sandlot Games title. However, Sally’s Salon does add in some extra features to help define the game and, as a result, it becomes a title that can stand on its own.
Sally’s Salon stars Sally, a stylist and entrepenuer who wants to eventually have her own chain of salons. Everyone has to start somewhere, and Sally’s journey begins in a local mall. You play through five levels in each chapter of Sally’s story, eventually working your way to fame and salon glory if you’re willing to cater to your customers.
I enjoyed Cake Mania, but I wished I had a bit more control over the game. It seemed like you’d just be telling Jill what to do, and watching. I felt the same way about the original PC version of Sally’s Salon as well. It was different, since you could also hire assistants to help and there was more variety when it came to serving customers, but it still wasn’t engaging enough for me.
The DS port changes all that. In Sally’s Salon, you actually get to perform actions. You aren’t just sitting around, tapping orders to a virtual servant. The only tasks that don’t have some sort of touch screen action to perform are washing and drying customers’ hair, and you can hire employees to do those menial jobs.
I have to admit, I got a kick out of meeting each customer’s beauty needs. If a customer needs their hair dyed, permed or cut, decides to get a spray-on tan, needs eyebrow plucking or perhaps a manicure, the player can do it. Personally, I enjoyed plucking stray eyebrows the most, but it all was genuinely fun. Best of all, it kept Sally’s Salon from being repetitive. You’d have to watch customer’s facial expressions to make sure most actions were performed correctly, and if you moved quickly, you could get more money and satisfy more people. What helped make this mechanic successful are the spot-on touch screen controls. I didn’t have a single problem plucking an eyebrow, spraying on a tan or buffing a nail.
I was also quite pleased with how the customer boosts worked. You could either light aromatherapy candles (each with a different customer altering effect) or brew coffee. When you need the boost, you either tap the candle or drag the coffee to the annoyed patron.
The only problem I did have with Sally’s Salon was the music. The background musak is incredibly generic and doesn’t add anything to gameplay. It isn’t horrible, but I would have liked something catchy to listen to.
I also would have liked to see an endless play mode, where you can continually keep playing without having to meet certain level goals or worry about customers leaving. As is, there’s only the career mode. You can go back and replay levels whenever you want, so at least there’s that.
In all honestly, I’d rather play the DS port of Sally’s Salon, then go online and either purchase the PC version or play a few levels of the demo. It looks adorable, the touch screen controls were great, the ability to actually perform services is fun and its just a great portable game to play on the go. I was a little disappointed at the price $29.99 since the PC version is $19.99 and people could get either Cake Mania or Cake Mania 2 for the DS for $19.99.
Images Courtesy of RealArcade.