iPad Game Review: Sally's Salon Luxury Edition for iPad Reviewed by Guy Dayen
Get out your combs, brushes and scissors; it's hair-styling time!!! The very successful "Sally" franchise finally comes to the iPad, and does so in a terrific way! While the game has been available for some time on the iPhone, it is a brand new and much better experience on the iPad. This type of game is a natural for the multi-touch screen, and Sally's Salon takes full advantage of the extra real estate afforded by the big iPad screen to make gameplay even more enjoyable than the original. There are also loads of new features. Sally fans, rejoice!
In the game, you play as Sally, the owner of a new hair salon with big dreams for haircutting greatness. You must wash, cut, style and color hair, as well as provide manicures. All the while, you must keep the multitudes of customers happy by serving coffee, handing out magazines, burning candles, and checking out clients promptly. It's all about the efficiency and the speed with which you deal with the tasks that must be accomplished. As you progress through the game, you?ll be able to open up shops in different locations, upgrade and add to your equipment, and hire assistants as your empire steadily grows. It?s a hectic and heady experience (pardon the pun), and it is lots of fun.
The game provides three modes: Campaign mode, Survival mode and Two-player Co-op mode. Campaign mode begins with a Basic campaign, and this is where you?ll learn your trade, playing through the various locations, and developing your salon. Buy new chairs, purchase a coffee machine, get new uniforms, add candles, hire helpers, etc. Keep an eye on the number of hearts above each character, and remember that they have distinct personalities and traits. Some are more patient than others, some are more demanding, and you can?t always count on a generous tip. You can?t get perfect scores if customers aren?t fully satisfied, and if they get mad enough they will cut out in a huff.
The more money you make by serving the most happy customers, the faster you can upgrade and improve your salon. Soon, you will have a chain of salons, in malls, hotels, and resorts, as you become a stylist superstar. Progress far enough into the game, and you?ll reach the Advanced campaign, where things will go at hair-raising speeds. Better hope you made wise choices of equipment and staff. Keep going, and you?ll create a haircutting empire that will be head and shoulders above the rest.
In Survival mode, the game play is very similar to Campaign mode, but your goal is to play and earn money for as long as you can without losing a customer. Speedy service is the name of the game here, as the store will upgrade automatically. A high score leader board is provided within the game.
A wonderful surprise is the new mode called Co-op mode, in which two players can work together on the same iPad on a split-screen. I had never seen a time-management game for the iPad with this option before, and I was quite intrigued by it. I tried it out with my wife, and we really had a good time playing together. As you would expect, if you coordinate well with your partner, things will go fine, and you?ll have loads of satisfied customers happily parting with their hard-earned cash. Fall out of synch, and you?ll be pulling your hair out in no time. So, guys, believe me when I say, this is a game where you definitely want your spouse to take the lead - my wife was already five steps ahead, while I was still contemplating which customers I should serve after starting up the coffee machine. She was calmly giving out orders while I was fumbling for magazines and trying to make my way to the cash register. We may be the best quarterbacks and goalies the iPad world has ever seen, but here, we are rookies and we just have to watch and learn at the feet of our betters!
While the graphics are very reminiscent of the computer and iPhone versions of the games, they have been updated for this deluxe version, and they are extremely crisp on the iPad. Everything is full of vibrant colors, and the animation is smooth as silk. There are new locations in the iPad versions that were not included in the iPhone game, giving the game even more depth than it had before. The controls respond very well to the touch, and you have the option of dragging your characters or of tapping the location on screen where you want your characters to go. This is where playing this game on the iPad truly outshines the computer by eliminating the need to use a trackpad or mouse. It is so much more intuitive and enjoyable to be able to touch the screen directly when controlling everything that happens at the salon.
The background music in Sally?s Salon is a bit repetitious but it is pleasant enough and doesn?t grate on the ears. However, if you want more variety and you want to make that salon your own, you can set your own music to play in the game options. Sound effects are well-done, and your character?s reaction will serve as one more indicator of their satisfaction with your work.
If you?ve enjoyed Time Management games, you will not be disappointed with this latest incarnation. If you?ve never played the game before, it is a perfect way to discover Sally?s world. And while it may seem more suitable for female gamers, anyone who enjoys time management games will find this to be a superior example of the genre. The price is not at all out of line for a game that will give you hours of play, and it compares favorably with any of the other platforms on which the game is available. Trying to get expert levels or perfect scores is challenging but certainly not impossible, and provides much replay value. Players like my wife won?t be satisfied with anything less, so they will be back to repeat levels until they achieve their lofty goals.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5): 5
Graphics: - 5 - Crisp graphics, nifty character design, new locations and tons of customization options give this game a great iPad makeover. Sound: - 4 - Pleasant music, good sound effects and the option to set your own music mean happy ears as you spend what I?m sure will be many hours combing through all the game variants. Controls: - 5 - Responsive and smooth. The option to tap or drag lets you choose the style of play most suited to you. Gameplay: - 5 - Great game with a nice variety of game modes, and lots of replay value as you try for those elusive perfect scores at every step of the way.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- In other Sally games, you can give coffee to your clients until the moment they pay to boost their heart score to the maximum. It doesn?t appear to be the case here, so be sure the heart meter is full before sending customers to pay, and take their money quickly. (This just in, my wife tells me that eventually you will have the opportunity to purchase a ?lucky cat? to sit near your register to give everyone in line an extra heart boost.)
- Unlike other Sally games, there is no description of your client?s character traits. You don?t know how impatient they are, for example. Be sure to observe and learn, so you can ramp up those heart meters.
- Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade... Get the best equipments and hire those assistants. Any other strategies will leave you sweeping as clients file out the door.