Tools Up! couch moving co-op – First Sip Review
Tools Up! is a multiplayer co-op party game by The Knight of Unity. Published by All In! Games. We covered the game in a still brewing preview you can read here but now we have our hands on the full game.
As a party game, there isn’t much of a story, more of a concept. And the concept of Tools Up! is pretty solid. You are part of Tools Up Co. a company of renovators. It’s your mission to renovate a series of apartments. This might sound somewhat generic, and kinda boring. I mean you can renovate apartments in real life why would you want to do it in a game? And the answer to that is, well you can cook in real life and Overcooked still got a sequel. I mentioned that you can renovate apartments in real life, however, apartments in real life generally don’t have ice floors and lava streams. So there is a still a fantastical element to the game that makes it a fun game.
In conclusion, The Knights of Unity have taken a simple concept (home renovation) and created a fun party game to be enjoyed by all ages.
Tools Up! uses a pretty simplistic art style. Characters are very muppet-like in design with bright and cartoony styles. Levels are even more minimalistic, with large amounts of open space or single color sections. It looks pleasing but overall it feels like a practical choice. The game is about running around and making the room look like the blueprints. So having things that stand out over the background makes finding them far less frustrating. This design choice also has another positive, in that the reduced textures and effects also mean the game is less resource-intensive than it could be. I have seen reports of people playing on older laptops having the game run smoothly when other new games just won’t.
Overall, Tools Up! isn’t the prettiest game out there, but it is pleasant and fun. The style suits the gameplay well and the team has done a solid job. Additionally, some of the bonus characters you can unlock are pretty adorable, like the otter.
The music in Tools Up! is very pleasant, at times it reminds me of a Pixar movie, specifically Monsters Inc. Characters are also voiced in typical cartoon style, where they make noises, but you can’t understand them. It’s a fun little addition to the game though and really cements the fun for all ages vibe. Overall the music and sound design are pretty solid but don’t really stand out much. Especially comparing them to other similar party games where they just sort of all blend together. Not a bad performance, not at all. But it’s nothing memorable either.
Gameplay in Tools Up! has been compared to Overcooked a lot. And for good reason really. Your objective is to renovate the apartments to take them from what they do look like to what the owners want them to look like. This means you’ll be moving around various rooms and performing various tasks such as painting, laying carpet and even moving couches. Tasks are generally pretty straight forward, go to a paint can, hold a button down, fill the meter, go to a wall, hold a button down, fill the meter, rinse and repeat. Where the difficulty comes in is elements like the timer in the corner. And the fact you can only see what the rooms should look like if you’re holding the blueprint. The blueprint is also required if you want to rotate the camera.
You’ll also need to clean up messes, empty your bin, accept deliveries for items you need and more. Things can get pretty hectic, adding more players can both alleviate this or make it far worse.
If you and your friends are a well-oiled machine, then multiplayer will make things a lot easier. Have one person grab the blueprint and then get the rest to work on each room. Or have everyone work one room until it’s done.
Where things sort of fall apart, and where a lot of the frustrating and fun comes from (funstration?). Is when no one is in charge. While you all have the same goal, most parties will generally end up with someone becoming a villain and making it hard for everyone else for their own amusement. But even if that doesn’t happen it’s still easy to mess things up for everyone. Whether that be by painting a room the wrong color. Knocking over the paint cans, or even taking a paint can from one room to another. There are plenty of ways to disrupt the harmony of your team and cause some major fails.
What it all boils down to is, how much fun is Tools Up! to play? And the answer I found to be greatly linked to how many people you can get to play.
You can take on renovations solo, but for me it very quickly became mundane. It was still enjoyable to a point but there wasn’t much excitement. Throw in another person and you start to plan things out more. You paint that room yellow, I’ll clean up these messes and then we’ll both lay the orange carpet in the other room. Throw in another person and the enjoyment spikes again. Get a full set of people playing? That’s where the game really shines. It becomes a lot of fun, however, it’s probably going to end up more hectic than ever before. You’ll likely be hearing things like “who took the yellow paint” and “watch out for the spill in the doorway”.
If you’re looking for something that is similar in feel to Overcooked. But still retains a unique sense of self. Tools Up! might just be the game you’re looking for.
In Coffee Terms
Tools Up! in coffee terms, is like finding a coffee you enjoy and ordering it at another cafe. Their take on the blend on the surface level seems to be the same. But as you drink it you can taste the subtleties the barista has incorporated into the flavor. Best enjoyed with a group of friends. Chat, have fun and drink coffee. What else do you need?
Tools Up! Links
Tools Up! Review Summary
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.