Meet Kate’s Parents is a fun flashback to the 80s but gameplay remains largely unchanged
Flashbacks into the past of popular characters seems to be the new trend in the time management genre. After getting a glimpse into the early days of Flo, Jill and Emily, you can now learn about how Kate’s story began with Fix-it-Up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents. While the gameplay is still engaging and entertaining, we were a little disappointed by the lack of innovation.
Fix-it-Up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents features 45 levels in the story mode, and each of the eight locations you are going to visit can also be played in a free endless mode, so the player should expect an average length. It is worth saying that you can’t really fail in timed mode, but by finishing a level in silver time you will earn a gold coin which can be spent decorating a diner, while completing levels in gold time is just an additional challenge. The storyline is definitely entertaining and spiced up by numerous references to pop culture of the 80s, such as The A-Team, Back to the Future, and Scooby-Doo.
In terms of gameplay Fix-it-Up 80s does not really change much from its predecessors. You are given a workshop at any location where you can build a paint shop, a car wash, and modding and tuning stations. Cars arrive on a regular basis and you can buy them if the offer sounds good, indicated by a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Each car provides a regular income depending on its initial worth, implemented upgrades, and provided that it is clean and working. To improve cars at the different stations you need spare parts that can either be purchased or through the disassembly where you can scrap old cars.
The basic aim is to purchase old and broken cars for a very good price and to make a large profit by improving them and then either earning the higher regular income, or by selling them to customers. Fortunately Fix-it-Up 80s still features a diverse variety of goals, and some of them still only appear half-way through a level, which makes the game a little bit more challenging, although even the gold timer is very generous in most levels. Sometimes you have to earn a specific amount of money or reach a certain rent, at other times you have to construct special buildings, mod 10 cabs, or possess 4 upgraded caddies.
A little bit disappointing is the addition of “cool points”, which simply replace the “green points” from the predecessor, and plays out in exactly the same way. Each shop can be upgraded and will add cool points to your work shop, as will each car which is improved in such a shop. Those cool points can factor into your level goals at times, but don’t really add another layer to the gameplay. Fix-it-Up 80s also still allows you to hire experts at each station, and those experts will make your workshop even more effective, because they stay at their stations and work a bit quicker.
The gameplay is as flawless and entertaining as the player might be used to from the predecessor, and I am happy to say that the Fix-it-Up 80s runs smoother than we experienced with the two first parts of this series. The graphics are wonderful, and the cars in particular are downright eye candy. Due to the setting and gameplay mechanics, the game still feels fresher than other building simulations, and the hunt for bargains is definitely as exciting as it always has been.
Nevertheless, we felt somewhat disappointed with the newest addition to this series. While the predecessor introduced a lot of new features and really improved the gameplay, we cannot say the same about Fix-it-Up 80s. Surprises are few and far between, and it is simply not enough to replace green points with cool points and build Kate’s estate by restoring her parent’s bar to create a truly amazing sequel. Of course it is not necessary to completely revamp proven gameplay – and believe us, the gameplay is great – but some additions or twists might have made the game seem fresher.
In the end we can still recommend Fix-it-Up 80s: Meet Kate’s parents due to gorgeous graphics, a nice storyline, a setting that is still unique in this genre, and gameplay that is still entertaining and addicting. If the positive aspects are more important to you than the aforementioned issues, the game will be without a doubt right up your alley.