Tattoo Mania Is A Superb Game With An Interesting Premise

 In iPhone, iPod touch, Simulation


Tattoo Mania Rating: ★★★★½

I’ll admit it up front, I didn’t really have high hopes for Tattoo Mania from Handy Games. For one thing, I’m not a great fan of the simulation / run a business genre. I have categorically been horrible at these types of games my whole life. Apparently I’m a tactical thinker, not a strategic one. For another thing, I didn’t really think that running a tattoo parlor would make for a compelling gaming experience. I am pleased to report that Tattoo Mania proved me wrong on both accounts.

At the beginning of Tattoo Mania you have been left in charge of the parlor while your boss is away on vacation. You have to prove your chops by tending to the clientele in an efficient manner while making tattoos in as quick and pain-free way possible. The macro tasks pure strategy players enjoy are covered by your management of customers. As the game progresses more and more customers come in to wait for a tattoo and you have to manage the queue by juggling customers from the waiting line to the chair and back. Managing their expectations mean better earnings when their job is complete. The micro tasks pure gamers enjoy are covered by the actual tattoo creation. Each customer has a tattoo template that you must fill in as quickly and efficiently as possible without causing the customer too much pain.

Tattoo Mania weaves all these different game aspects into a great interface. Customer management and tattoo creation are all managed from the same screen. That’s a big plus in my mind considering some strategy games require you to flip through different screens for each game function. The current customer is in front of you with the tattoo zoomed in. You color in the tattoo by swiping your finger inside of the template. Staying inside the lines keeps the customers pain level down and earns you more money. A four way scroll button lets you move around the various parts of the tattoo as you work on it. On the upper left hand part of the screen is the customer pain meter. Keep the pain meter low and you’ll earn more money for the tattoo. In the upper right hand corner is the customer queue. It indicates the customers in line, the beginning worth of their tattoo, and their relative patience. The strategy end of the game comes into play trying to juggle the current job, the customers in the queue, and the worth of their tattoos. The object of the game is to make the most money but you also need to keep your customers happy. Striking a good balance is the way to win the day.

As I mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I loved it. It just goes to show that the premise doesn’t always tell the whole story about a game. It also has some additional features I really liked. The soundtrack went along with the subject matter nicely. It had a good, hard vibe I liked. If a heavy metal sound isn’t to your liking, it can be muted by clicking the radio in the window on the main screen. Tattoo Mania also features a nice social networking feature in maintaining local and global high scores. Not only can you measure yourself against your friends and family on your own device but you can measure yourself against other game players worldwide. High scores are available by tapping the trophy on the main screen.

I think Tattoo Mania is one of the best laid out and produced games I’ve encountered in the App Store. The only thing I would add to this otherwise great game is to build on the high score / achievement feature. A push notification when someone beats your high score would be great. Another idea would be Twitter integration or OpenFeint support. The absence of these doesn’t distract from the gameplay but are common features in most iPhone games that run on OS 3.0.

Overall Tattoo Mania is a superb game with an interesting premise. Well worth the money spent.


Price $3.99

The Good

  • Interesting, well implemented premise.
  • Great interface.
  • Good integration of strategic and tactical parts of the game.

The Not So Good

  • Needs extended high score / achievement functionality.

Reviewed By: Erin Peterson

Tattoo Mania Trailer


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