A crazy, chaotic cooperative experience. That is pretty much the only compliment that best describes the game in its truest form. Tools Up! is a four-player cooperative and a somewhat chaotic mixture of cussing and sabotage to the uninitiated. Yet it becomes a glorious work of art when done right. There’s a huge emphasis on teamwork and work delegation that it can either make or break friendships. Considering it’s the holiday seasons, it’s one of those times where you can really get into heated moments with your siblings and relatives for the sake of having a good time… or the other way around.
On the surface, Tools Up! offer some pretty simplistic controls that anybody that hasn’t held a controller in their life can easily pick up and learn. Comprised of two or three-button configurations, these go from your average throw button (because hell yeah! Everything needs a throw button), other than the pick-up and apply for peeling off old wallpapers, patching new splashes of paint or finishing up walls with a new layer of cement.
Although its deepest problems go by completely ignoring the most basic of tutorials and hand-holding. Often times, you’re in need to experiment your way around certain levels like using an empty bucket to throw in the trash rather than running all the way down to the trash bin for each patch of wallpaper that needs to be torn down. Or having the perfect angle and position to throw stuff over walls which theoretically should never be a thing because of ceilings in a multi-floor apartment complex. Controls are rather clunky at times especially when near other interactable objects. When you’re holding certain stuff like carpet or a bucket of paint while near another, your character would often nod in the disagreement like refusing to drop or throw its paraphernalia to carry on with your work.
However, if you can manage to stick through it, the game offers a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment whether you’re playing cooperatively in local multiplayer or doing the work alone before the timer counts down to zero. Playing alone however is simply doing the game on easy mode with a longer countdown timer and the lack of traffic between each hallway and entrance that multiple people would have to carefully manage. Simply put, while you can play the game exclusively solo, it is four times better with a pack of friends constantly bickering with each other at any given point in time. The game also offers a party mode which unlike campaign doesn’t count down the timer but it helps to be fast.
The game’s level design, however, is by far the craziest ones despite the apartment setting. With each few floors up, the game would constantly throw new stuff at you such as water pouring down from the rain that would let you slip, your tools being brought by deliverymen that would come in every few seconds and leaves if you can’t answer the door to take it after three rings. At certain levels, they would also deliver on the wrong door forcing you to time it just right for them to pass by when they leave or sacrifice the time to actually go to them directly. Other times, your tools and paint will be drifting in the water currents or would already be in the apartment alongside tons of other stuff that you won’t even need just to make you learn how to properly throw stuff over walls to make that three-point shot and the three-star clear. And of course, let’s not forget that it isn’t uncommon to see floors made of ice or have huge piles of snow to hinder movement. That and the many other things like lava because why not, which simply keeps the game far from being as realistic as possible. And that’s a good thing, maybe not for you, but the tenants seem to like their free airconditioning or energy-efficient heaters.
In a nutshell, Tools Up! is something far from being a perfect mash-up animals in the construction business. Yet its rough edges and alongside its comical gameplay completely makes up for its flaws. It does, however, come off as a more complex party game that not a lot can get into from the get-go and is an organized group of people is far from what we’ve achieved over the few days we’ve gone to test out. For its price of $20, it does seem reasonable enough to warrant a purchase if you’re looking into a game to play with friends during certain occasions and gatherings. However, it’s not something I’d recommend if you’re looking into a game to play religiously for hours for its repetitive nature.
Tools Up! is available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game
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Tools Up! is a couch co-op game about renovating apartments in a mysterious skyscraper. Work together against the racing clock: paint walls, move furniture, lay tiles and unlock the secrets of the building!
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 16.99