Sally’s Salon, from RealArcade, is yet another time management game featuring a female protagonist who branches out from corporate life to start a local business… just like Chocolate Shop Frenzy, Cake Mania 3, Super Market Mania, and many other such titles. Sally’s Salon fails to stand out from the crowd in any meaningful way, prompting us to shrug our shoulders and move on down the line.
There are two basic modes of gameplay in Sally’s Salon: Campaign and Survival. The Campaign mode sees you progress through different salons. Survival tests how long you can withstand an endless horde of impatient customers. Your tasks are to serve your customers before their patience runs out, which includes — in the beginning -0 washing, cutting, and drying their hair, and then taking their money. Each station has a limited number of chairs, and you have a limited number of hands. All of the while, they have 5 hearts over their heads, which slowly dwindle the longer they wait. Yet each task you do makes them happier, if you do it right. There’s no skill required; you just scroll through a list of hair styles until the customer makes a happy face.
At the end of each level, you get to spend your hard-earned money on upgrades for the store — anything from scented candles to increase customer mood, to comfortable stations which increase patience, to employees to handle the menial tasks of drying, washing, and making coffee. One of the biggest problems with the game, however, is its inherent lack of depth. There are several different characters, yes, but they all act the same (high-maintenance and difficult). Some come in to the salon in a bad mood already, and there are different styles of hair for each, but that’s where it stops.
There are 50 levels in total, spanning across 5 different salons. We’ve found Expert performance exceedingly easy to achieve, however, and there is no substantial story between one salon and the next. All that gets added are more stations, though. Another glaring omission is that there is no ‘˜chain’ bonus for doing like actions in a row, meaning your job can be as structured or chaotic as you wish. That could be seen as more freedom, but we see it as lacking a requirement for strategy.
All in all, Sally’s Salon does give a lot of content for the price (99 cents), and the casual gamer may get some kicks out of it. However, its sub-par graphics and lack of dynamic gameplay and plot makes it much less desirable than its fellows in the field.