Tools Up! is a new party genre video game that has released on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Steam, and Nintendo Switch. We reviewed the game via the Nintendo Switch, both in docked and hand-held mode!
The premise behind Tools Up! is a game that simulates home improvement and renovation in a party-like manner. We’ve seen this type of genre with Overcooked and Overcooked 2 with cooking, and now we have it as a fixer upper!
When playing the game you have a set of blueprints that allow you to rotate the camera, and see where the work needs to be done. From there, you have to execute the work within the time-limit. There’s a progress bar in the upper right corner that shows you how much is done. This is a good reminder if you may have forgotten a wall, or didn’t see another task.
One feature I was surprised about was the delivery of products. You have to go outside and pick up an item from a delivery personnel, otherwise they’ll walk away with it. This adds a whole new element of timing your work so you can get the carpet or paint you need to finish the job.
The Nintendo Switch had some basic controls for the game. You can use either two joy-cons or one, where you have to both hold and tap buttons to collect/apply and pick up. There is also a throwing button that will shoot products or people farther away from you.
As you progress through the game new features are introduced using the same controls. As an example, drywall is added early on and it shows how you must first mix the bucket of materials and then lay them on the walls.
Tools Up! is a top-down renovation party game that has a very colorful pallet. The art style was very appealing to me, and I can see it being acceptable for all ages. That being said, I will say it was difficult for myself to see the notifications and control symbols that appeared on the screen. If they had been highlighted or larger it would make it easier to see the prompts. The white outline does allow them to blend in with the background a tiny bit.
Another great element is you can pick your character! By playing through you can unlock new and exciting characters to play as.
There were plenty of sound effects for the interactions with paint, carpet, and cleaning. I will say the traditional music that played throughout the levels did get repetitive. I found myself looking for a way to turn it off so I could have less daunting music and focus more on the tasks ahead.
I do love party games such as Tools Up! because they give you a pleasant group activity that promotes communication and working together. I do think there are some downfalls on Tools Up!. For one the soundtrack was extremely repetitive. The other element is it lacked a story. In Overcooked there was a straight story and while it didn’t influence your gameplay, it created a background knowledge on what you were working towards. Even having a small story element in Tools Up! would increase the playability by wanting to see the ending, or finish the main mission.
You can get your own copy of Tools Up! on the Nintendo Switch eShop or virtually any other platform!