Sally’s Quick Clips is a fast paced match-3 game that has you gathering resources to serve beauty salon clients. The game takes place before the events of Sally’s Salon and Sally’s Spa, although the gameplay mechanics are very different.
With a series of successful salons and spas behind her, Sally has the urge to remember her roots. It all started when she had just gotten her beauty degree, and decided to compete on a game show called Styling America. As you play through her flashbacks, you learn how she got her first big break.
If you’ve played either Sally’s Salon or Sally’s Spa, you’ll notice some very big changes. For one, Sally’s Quick Clips is a match-3 game and not a time management dash game. While you still serve customers and perform the same "find-the-happy-face" mini-games, the core mechanics have changed completely.
To play, you must swap adjacent tiles in order to make matches of three or more of a kind. Each tile you match is added to your inventory. When you’ve made enough matches of a certain type, you earn service chips. These chips can be dragged onto customers in order to complete a requested service, like eye brow plucking or shampooing. If you take too long serving a customer, she will leave, and you won’t get paid…
Some services require playing a mini-game where you scroll through options in order to find the one that makes the customer smile. Those styles are certainly outlandish – think pink mustaches for Dad, and green hair for Grandma!
To complete a level, you need to reach the target number of hearts before the day is over. This means that keeping customers happy is a priority. Thankfully, good service is rewarded with extra hearts.
Of course, there are power-ups to help you as you play. These play a huge role later in the game. Trendy bombs blow up all surrounding tiles, and tricky arrows can wipe out anything in their path. You can fill up your power-ups by matching lucky clovers.
In addition, you can buy upgrades in between levels. These upgrades can make your tiles more valuable, filling up your gauges more quickly. They can also grant you extra storage slots for services, and extra goodies like coffee and magazines to keep customers happy.
You must meet the basic goal, but you can also aim for the expert score on each level. You can replay levels at any time to try and get a better score. Even if you lose, you get to keep your upgrades and try again, making it easier to win the next time around. This is helpful if you get stuck.
Aside from the main game play, at the end of each chapter you get to compete in the Style-Off Challenge. This pits you against a computer opponent, trying to make matches as quickly as you can to serve your client. If you can fill up your gauge before your opponent, you’ll earn a funky new hairstyle trophy as a reward.
There are 60 levels and 10 different salons, offering many hours of game play. While it’s not very noticeable, the music is good, and the graphics are fun and colorful. Some of the voice overs can get repetitive, like when each and every character exclaims continually, "I don’t just like…I love it!" Still, there are a variety of different customers, and plenty of quirky styles.
On the downside, the game play doesn’t change much from level to level, and there aren’t as many power-ups or obstacles as you find in most match 3 games. Sally’s Quick Clips has opted for a simpler style, where speed is more important than strategy when you start. As a result the game play is fast paced, but not varied. At high levels, more strategy is needed, and so is a little bit of luck.
The first half of the game is very easy, and somewhat relaxing to play. Once you reach chapter 6, the difficulty ramps up, and all of the sudden it’s very tough to pass a level!You need to choose your upgrades very carefully, and use them strategically in order to win. At times, it feels nearly impossible to advance.
If you like fast paced match 3 games with lots of multitasking involved, then Sally’s Quick Clips is a fun salon-themed puzzler. Just don’t expect too much variety along the way, and be ready for a shift in the game’s challenge about halfway through.