Tots ‘n’ Togs Review

Developer: Handy Entertainment Publisher: Handy Entertainment
Release Date: October 26, 2004 Also On: Palm and PC

We Germans are known for loving manager games. I don’t really fall into that category. Sure, I liked Roller Coaster Tycoon, but I really don’t understand what makes people play soccer manager games. I wasn’t really sure if Tots’n’Togs would be a game I’d like. The demo was too short to really get to know the game, but it made a good impression, so I bought it, and had quite some hours of crazy addictive fun. But let’s start at the beginning.

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

Tots’n’Togs is advertised as a weird business sim. That describes the game pretty good. Your job is to manage a clothing shop. Sell as many clothes as you can, please your customers, and use the money you earn to upgrade your shop to make even more money. In the beginning you can choose between two game modes, Legacy, where you inherit a shop that’s already up and running, and Venture, where you have to start a new shop and choose the logo, the place in the city where it should be located and the clothes you want to try selling. Legacy is easier so that’s the mode you should start with. Tots’n’Togs is a relatively simple manager game when compared to the crazy things available on the PC, but it still has enough options to keep you entertained for quite some time. In fact, it has exactly the right number of options to be complex enough, but not confusing.

The most important thing of course is to decide which clothes to sell. There is a statistic to see which clothes sold well in the last few days. In the warehouse you have to decide which 9 of the 26 (78 if you count variations) clothes you want to sell. Then you have to assign each of the 6 places on all 4 racks you’ve got a piece of clothing that should hang there. They will be automatically put there and replaced by your shop personnel.

You can also buy upgrades to your store. For example, additional racks to place more clothes or additional things like hats in the store or a security camera to prevent robberies. Smart people buy the camera only seconds before the robber enters the store and sell it afterwards. A very important upgrade is the fitting room. You can buy two at most and you should do so as quickly as possible. Nobody will buy clothes without trying them on and with only one fitting room, there will soon be long queues and people will get impatient. Later if you’ve got enough money you can also buy things to make your store nicer like wall paintings or carpets. You can also employ additional personnel to hang clothes out faster or keep the shop clean or call one-time services like the exterminator against moths or the repair guy when some idiot breaks one of your racks.

You can’t control how much money you spend on marketing. But you can control what you spend it on. In the beginning it might be more useful to fight your rivals with skunks and dead rats while later in the game this money can be used to find out which clothes are the newest trend or which clothes are preferred by certain target groups. The last thing you can do is spend your money on promotion whether it’s flyers or TV ads.

To prevent the game from being boring there are special customers which enter your store from time to time, for example aforementioned robber or dogs and little crying girls that scare customers away. My favorite one is the naked guy who only has a barrel to cover himself. He will always buy a lot of clothes…;)

Tots’n’Togs plays great with the stylus. I tried the PC version and it’s not nearly as much fun with the mouse. But it’s quite a hard game. I needed a number of tries before I managed to keep my shop from going bankrupt. That’s actually a good thing though. A manager game that is too easy doesn’t make much sense. If it plays alright by itself, why waste your time with all the little options?

In Tots’n’Togs most of these little options are really important to keep your shop alive. Forget to check how your clothes are selling for a week and your shop might be as good as gone. Or later in the game forget to get rid of those moths and wonder why you suddenly have to sell your carpet to survive and where all those customers went.

The game is quite long for a manager game this simple. I played for about ten hours to make my store really complete and successful and I needed a number of tries before that which probably took about 2-4 hours each. Even when you have mastered the Legacy mode, you can still try to get a shop running in Venture mode. Try all the different places in the city with different target groups. There should be enough variations to keep you playing for some time.

The graphics in Tots’n’Togs are beautifully drawn pixel art like you are used to from Handy Entertainment. There was a lot of love put into each pixel and it shows. You can just sit there for some time and watch the little pixel people buy clothes. You can also ask every one of your customers what they are thinking at the moment which is another nice touch. Most of the time you will spend in fast forward mode though.

The music of Tots’n’Togs is very nice and adds a lot of style to the game. There are four great tracks. However, when playing the game for an extended time, they can get a bit repetitive. The sounds are a bit annoying; I decided to turn them off after a while. There is also a special Christmas themed version with additional music, clothes and Christmas themed graphics.

If you like manager games you should get Tots’n’Togs. It’s the best there is on Palm OS. If you are not into manager games you should try the demo first to see if you like it. It can be a little frustrating for beginners but you will succeed eventually if you keep trying. This game is very hard to put down.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.8
Written by Ortwin Review Guide

Leave a Comment