There are times when the most uncomplicated games can be the ones that could prove the most tasking. You have a title for a few people to play together. It asks you to have everyone work toward a common goal. It might even see simple. Except in action, with everyone running around willy nilly, it becomes a monumental task. Which is, in games like Tools Up! and Overcooked, the point. You want something anyone could play, but then make it so they really have to work at it to succeed and do well, earning all of your stars.
Like Overcooked, Tools Up! places you in a profession where the employees have to be adept at many tasks. You and up to three friends are repair people. You have been tasked with renovating an apartment building that gets more and more distressed as you climb its floors. You’ll need to clean things up, repair the area, move furniture, carpet, paint, and perform various chores to make each area habitable. You have blueprints in each place, showing what needs to be done in each room, a time limit letting you know how long you have to get the job done, and up to three stars waiting to be earned. Tasks can start out with removing wallpaper and repainting, but quickly get more complex.
Basically, it is an ideal sort of game for jumping into with a group of people who may or may not be adept at video games. The stakes are low, levels typically take around five minutes, and you essentially have one action button for picking stuff up or putting it down and another for actually performing any kind of action. But, while it is intended as an easy-to-opt-into title, it isn’t always the most user-friendly. There’s no tutorial of any sort when you start, whether you go into the campaign or opt to pick a level.
While it is very easy to pick up, it would have been nice to have a brief safe space where someone could learn basics. You know, like first you peel off old wallpaper, then you throw it out, then you go to the paint to dip your brush, then you repaint a wall. Or with carpet, it would be helpful to know it starts with ripping up old carpet or tile, recycling it, getting the fresh flooring, then placing it. (These are just the earliest two tasks.) Eventually, you will get other tasks with screens that explain. Like you could learn how to lay bricks and make cement. Still, there is a lot of tossing people in and hoping they figure things out on their own.
Once things do click, though, Tools Up! can be a pretty good time. Some apartments could have furniture, which aren’t possible to move on your own. You’ll have to ask someone else nearby to help you move it out of the way so renovations can continue. You might not have all the items you need for repairs right away, which means a person could have to wait for a delivery-person to show up to get the next new item you need. Some apartments will have icy conditions, which mean your character can slip. That wastes time or could cause messes. You might need to build up walls. Things scale up right when you need them to. Keep in mind that it is short, so pacing yourself could be a good idea.
Tools Up! falls into the same sort of category as games like Overcooked. You have objectives that seem relatively simple and orderly. If you give clear directions and know how to work together, things could go fine. Especially since its controls are uncomplicated. It’s the gradually increasing pressure and addition of new tasks that makes things interesting and fun. While it never gets as rage-inducing as Overcooked, it’s an option in the same vein for people who want to try and achieve objectives with friends.
Tools Up! is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.