Ever regret getting a tattoo? We feel the same in our review of Tattoo Ink – Hollywood.
Tattoo Ink – Hollywood wants to appeal to those out there that identify with the tattooing world. Sadly what’s served up here is more tattoo culture penned by advertising exec, and it feels about as legitimate as a Mountain Dew commercial. Creating a real tattoo takes years of practice and intense artistry skills. In this game, you rub your finger around the screen some. It’s admittedly a watered down experience.
You start the game out as the lowly new tattoo artist in a small shop. You’ll work with clients and give them tattoos, get paid and scored for it, and work your way up to larger and larger shops. The core experience is a few strung together mini-games that play out the same each time.
Let’s go through what happens for each customer. First you’ll listen to what they have to say, which will help you in knowing how to deal with them (for instance, how they handle pain). Based on the info they give you, you’ll select a tattoo design for them. The better the match the more you’ll score at the end of the job.
The first part of the tattooing is a tracing mini-game where you draw your needle around the edge of the design, doing your best to follow the pattern. Going too fast or going outside the lines causes the client pain, which depending on who they are might give you a warning. Get too many of these and you’ll fail. The better you do, the more points you’ll score.
Next you need to color the tattoo in, which takes us to a second mini-game. You’ll once again need to draw with the needle but this time you’ll be filling in the design you traced the outline to. You don’t need to concern yourself with color choice, it’s all done automatically. Once you get about 95% done they tell you to wipe the tattoo down with a towel (more screen rubbing) and voila, you’ve finished a tattoo. You’re scored on design choice, outline, color and feeling (how much pain you caused). You’ll repeat this process over and over and over, each time gaining money and fame.
The game has a host of problems, so let’s get to it. First, you’ll be cycling between the same 6 clients or so over and over. Each look the same, have the same name, same sayings, etc. Even as you move to different cities it’s the same male model and female DJ or biker dude. Each of the playable characters has different clients, and it makes no sense why these weren’t divided by venue or just all combined together.
Since this is a game based around tattoos, you’d think there be a ton of different tattoo designs to choose from. Well, you’d be wrong. There are 15 total, and each playable character has the same 15. It’s not nearly enough to be interesting. A few are standard designs like birds or cherries and look very iconic. There are some way out there ones like a mustached guy wearing a leather jacket or a strange avant-garde face. It’s a weird spread, but there’s not nearly enough to choose from.
The other major problem is how incredibly easy the game is. It’s almost impossible to fail. On my playthrough I didn’t come close to failing a single tattoo. Even when I intentionally tried to fail it wasn’t easy. I flew through the game in about 2 hours and never once felt the slightest challenge.
I was enjoying the game and found myself entertained for the first 15-20 minutes, but then I started seeing the rotation of clients and was redoing the same designs over and over. The dialogue bubbles can border on the ridiculous (One client said they wanted a tattoo design to relax them after a long day at work) and when I beat the game a box popped up that said something to the effect of “Jimmy got everything he wanted. Fame, fortune, etc…” It was anticlimactic to say the least, though at that point I wasn’t expecting much.
With repetitive gameplay, limited options, 2 strung together mini-games providing the core game, and no reason to ever replay it I’d have a hard time recommending Tattoo Ink – Hollywood. The game is fun for the first few clients, but the unchanging gameplay soon rears its ugly head and it never goes away. Luckily this game is easier to remove than a real tattoo.