Indie darling Team17’s work on Overcooked! has given the series a Nintendo-esque level of respect when it comes to couch multiplayer, and we’ve since seen a lot of clones that try to recapture that fun to no avail.
Released in late 2019, Tools Up! is an enjoyable game that captures a lot of what makes Overcooked! so fun while also keeping things simple.
What Is It?
Tools Up! is a couch co-op game about home improvement. A truck full of contractors of different colors, shapes, sizes arrives at a home to fix it up, and there’s a lot of work to do. From repainting walls to tiling floors, to even knocking down and building walls to create new rooms, it’s all fun and games — even when the floor is lava.
Why Should I Care?
Overcooked! will be mentioned a lot because built on Unity, it just looks so damn similar. Overcooked! let you choose a bunch of different characters and animals to cook meals, and the contractors you have at your disposal in Tools Up! are also a bunch of funny looking people and animals. In addition to that, while both can be played solo, there’s just no way you’ll finish it unless you’re playing with at least one other person.
So how is it different? Unlike Overcooked!, you aren’t racing to fill orders. You’re just trying to finish what’s required of the blueprints as quickly as possible. If you finish within a set amount of time, you’ll be awarded up to three stars for your execution and more floors housing more levels will be available to you.
During every level, you’ll start outside the house and see a bunch of stuff undone to do along with a blueprint of what needs to be done. Whether it’s rolling out a new carpet or painting a wall in the kitchen a specific color, it’s all there on the blueprint, and you’re also given an idea of what it looks like when everything is finished. Of course, as you get further into the game, the instructions for what to do get more complicated, and you’ll find yourself consulting the blueprints repeatedly to make sure you’re doing everything right, because you definitely will make mistakes. There’s even one level without a blueprint, and it’s up to you to figure out the theming with the tools you have.
Sometimes you’ll place carpet on the wrong floor. Maybe you might make glue to place wallpaper but you accidentally made cement for bricks to put up. Maybe you knocked over the can of paint as you tried to rush outside to dump your junk bucket. These are all certainties that’ll mess you up on your way to try to clear every level with three stars. You’ll even eventually get to crazy levels with lava and ice impeding your path, or even a dog or ghosts knocking stuff over and stealing your tools. This is the amount of craziness you have to endure in Tools Up!, and it’s all enjoyable as long as you don’t take things too seriously. (For the record, I yelled at my brother a lot for making glue instead of cement.)
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
It took some getting used to, but my brother and I handily finished Tools Up!‘s 30 levels and Platinum’d the game in a weekend, as it took roughly 8 hours or so to get there. While that seems short, it’s also worth mentioning that this is a party game so you probably won’t be playing for eight hours long in one sitting to begin with.
$20 is a good price for the amount of enjoyment there is for Tools Up!, but given its age, you probably would be right to wait for a sale when the discount is more significant.
Editor’s Note: We’re actually supposed to be reviewing “The Garden Party” DLC, but there was a mix-up in the codes provided, and we don’t currently have access to that at the moment. Once we do, we’ll update the review to address The Garden Party DLC.