Sally’s Salon is cut from the same cloth as other time management games like Diner Dash. The goal in each level is to please as many customers as possible without keeping anyone waiting longer than necessary. Customers enter the establishment with five hearts floating over their heads – some empty and some filled. If they are made to wait too long at any point in the visit, the hearts will start to empty. Once they run out, the customer leaves in frustration. Performing services that please the customers will fill up their hearts. Different kinds of customers have different patience levels and tipping habits; learning which ones to prioritize is part of the fun.
Initially, the salon contains five key components: waiting area chairs, shampoo chairs, hair cutting chairs, dryer chairs, and the cash register. Customers typically visit each of these stations in order, though they don’t necessarily need to visit every single station; one may want a cut without a shampoo, for instance. Each person has a voice bubble above his or her head that indicates where to send him or her. Players can send them to the proper area by their dragging them or tapping the customer and then tapping the station. I highly recommend tap controls as drag controls won’t cut it when in the faster-paced levels.
All the beautiful people
As the ‘Luxury Edition’ in the title implies, this version of Sally’s Salon includes both the original game and its expansion pack. The original levels, consisting of 5 locations and a total of 48 days, occupy the left side of the map. Upon their completion, the right side of the map opens up, with 5 more locations that last 5 days each. That’s a total of 73 levels.
Each level can be replayed for better ratings and to earn more money, though the level selection interface is extremely unintuitive. After choosing a location on the map, you have to tap the individual day just right in order to pick it.
Even though both ‘halves’ of the game occupy the same map, they remain distinct from each other; money and upgrades do not carry over between both sections. That’s not such a bad thing, as Sally’s Salon is the most fun when players are still working on purchasing new upgrades for their salons. I had maxed out my upgrades well before the end of the first half of the game, which made the remaining days in that half feel like busywork. The Luxury Edition half of the map is better paced, as players won’t be able to afford the last upgrade until right before the end.
But wait, there’s more (Achievements)
Most of Sally’s Salon’s Achievements come from simply playing Story mode. The only ones that might take a little work are for reaching Expert and Perfect ratings on each level. Neither is very hard to do after purchasing all of the salon upgrades, provided you concentrate and use items wisely. It’s nice to see a casual game with casual Achievements rather than frustrating ones.
Sally’s Salon is way more fun than an actual visit to the salon. The game play doesn't really involve a ton of variety, but it keeps you too busy to notice. It’s a hectic good time, made especially addicting thanks to the clever upgrade system. If you’re in the market for an offbeat game with easy Achievements, look no further than the salon.
Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here from the Windows Phone Store.