After building up a successful business, who wouldn’t want a little R&R? And if that R&R turns into a global business empire, all the better, right? That’s the premise of Sally’s Spa, Games CafÃ©’s follow-up to the popular time management game Sally’s Salon and currently ranked #1 on the App Store.
Sally’s Spa is set in the days following the conclusion of Sally’s Salon. You play as the now-exhausted hair salon owner Sally, whose much-needed vacation quickly turns into an opportunity to build a day spa empire that spans the globe.
A pampered customer is a happy customer.
Making good use of the iPhone’s touch screen, you drag customers to the sauna, facial chair, massage table and mani-pedi station, giving them various spa treatments as you go. You’ll assist a number of well-realized character types, including an old married couple, a cool goth girl and a professional athlete with tribal tattoos across his back.
Everyone wants the same things and usually wants them in the same order, so the gameplay resembles an assembly line: facial, massage, bath, cash register. Keeping your pampering production line running smoothly is the challenge of this game, and it can be difficult when customers start to pile up and lose patience.
The frantic tapping and dragging that is necessary to keep things running smoothly is intense and often unavoidable. The mini-games associated with different tasks, like tapping fingernails to paint them, add only superficial variation and bring little to the overall gaming experience.
You earn money for each task performed, and doing them quickly earns you larger tips. The money you make can then be used to buy better equipment and hire employees to help you run the stations. You can also use climate indicators like dryness and UV ray levels to select home care products that customers can buy. This aspect of the game was interesting at first, but quickly began to feel unnecessary.
The graphics are top-notch, and each of the ten stages look distinct. Even the music fits the mood, with a generic instrumental tune that stays true to the calming spa theme without becoming grating. There’s also lots of attention to detail, from the tattoos on your clients’ backs to the color of the spa water changing after bath bombs are dropped in.
Though the gameplay can get a bit frantic, the excellent graphics and attention to detail make this one of the best time management games out there. Sally’s Spa may not be especially relaxing, but it is certainly enjoyable.