Here at Stoffel Presents we love a good party game and Tools Up! is a brilliant little gem of a party game. Who would have thought decorating could be so much fun!!
Tools Up is developed by The Knights of Unity whose previous development credits include Gwent: The Witcher Card Game and Disco Elysium. Tools Up! is the first IP fully created by the studio.
Tools Up! has an incredibly simple premise but to be fair this game isn’t about story its about couch co-op gameplay and fun.
The inhabitants of a mysterious skyscraper left their homes in your hands. All that is left is a blueprint of how the house should look like when they come back. Cooperate with your friends to make their dreams a reality!
Now all that sounds incredibly simple doesn’t it? Look at the blueprint and work alongside your friends to renovate and decorate 30 different apartments… oh if only it was that easy!
The first thing to point out about Tools Up!, That I adore, is that there is absolutely no dialogue in the game whatsoever. There is no text to help you out. There is no speech. just a blueprint, materials and a timer that is constantly ticking down.
Tools Up! plays out in an isometric view of each apartment. You simply look at the blue print and carry out the necessary renovation tasks. Co-operating with your friends to beat the timer it often begins with fun, quickly descends into frustration before turning into straight out anger and finally evolving into some of the sweetest and free flowing teamwork I have experienced in a game.
In no time at all everyone seems to take responsibility for certain tasks. One rips up floors and wallpaper whilst the other collects materials and puts them in the correct rooms whilst another lays carpet etc.
With the right friends your teamwork becomes a sort of hive mind/ symbiotic relationship and you can work quickly and effortlessly. The wrong team however and you soon find yourself tripping over rubbish, bumping into each other. getting stuck in doorways and even throwing each other!!!
Even without friends Tools Up! becomes a strangely addictive puzzle game. The single player campaign has the same 30 levels but this time it seems to be more about time management in a puzzle solving kind of way that is extremely satisfying and delivers that “one more go” type of gameplay.
Like the best games, Tools Up! starts of incredibly simple. A single room requires you to fit a carpet. That is it. As you progress you end up with multiple activities such as wallpapering, tiling, flooring and many more. Some items such as paint and carpets can be applied to their relevant surface. Other items such as wallpaper, tiles and flooring require you to mix the relevant adhesive before you can apply them.
However you approach these tasks is up to you and your team however bear in mind there is only ever one bucket per level and only the person holding the blueprints can rotate the camera.
The graphics in Tools Up! are perfectly fine. They are in no way groundbreaking but they don’t have to be. They are bright and colourful and that is exactly what is required in this kind of title.
The character models are fun and quirky and as you progress you unlock all sorts of weird and wonderful characters!
The isometric view is perfect for the game and whilst it help everybody work together sometimes it can become a hindrance. Which is brilliant in my opinion.
Tools Up! is a simple game and that is why it is brilliant. The focus is definitely on gameplay and it shows. It feels like so much more could have been added but would only have been detrimental. It is as if The Kights of Unity have stripped Tools Up! back to its core in order to preserve that pureness of enjoyment, co-operstion and fun.
Yes at times Tools Up! can be incredibly frustrating but it is never rage inducing. It is missing out on a perfect score by a couple of seconds and going ” right, right, this time” or “we almost had it then! let’s try that plan again”
The thing I think I loved most about Tools Up! was when we first started playing co-op we would go in, look at the blue prints, see what needed doing and discuss who was doing what. This meant we lost the first minute of our timer.
After a few levels we seem to blend into a perfect team. Instantly each player had their one role, tasks and responsibilities. There was no glory or winner here just the determination that if we failed this time it wasn’t going to be my fault.
Tools Up! is an amazing game for 30 something’s like me and my idiot friends or for my 7 year old nieces and nephews who spent a couple of hours playing till we had to break up the arguments.
Whatever your age range Tools Up is an absolute gem of a gem and at £15.99 it is definite must buy.