While it may be built upon the same time management foundation we're already familiar with, Everything Nice skirts the perimeter of the genre with a recipe-based setup reminiscent of Miriel the Magical Merchant. Fed up with all the violent toys flooding the market, Abby has the idea to create classic, "happy" toys such as teddy bears and jack-in-the-boxes. A local businessman rejects her idea, but then she stumbles across the Wondermachine9000, a magical device that can create anything her imagination conjures. Just the thing she needs to start her own factory!
As toys appear on the conveyor belt below, its your job to set a number of machines in motion that create the ingredients you need. Click on a toy to see its recipe. A teddy bear, for example, requires one button, one ball of fluff, and one bolt of velvet. Click each machine to prepare the ingredients, then pick up the products from their respective bins. Remember, you can queue actions to free your cursor up to do other tasks while Abby does her thing.
Items in hand, carry everything to the Wondermachine9000, place it on the belt, flip the switch and wait for the magic to happen. Moments later a finished toy appears on the other side, ready to be boxed, ribboned and set on the shipping table. Complete each package before it falls off the conveyor belt to get paid, and make a few bonus toys to get a little extra coinage to buy an upgrade or two.
Between levels you have the option of improving Abby's equipment, making things move faster, more efficiently, and sometimes, automatically! Your cash piles up pretty quickly, and you'll be making purchases every few levels, but spend the money wisely, as the upgrades have a noticeable affect on the main game. Fast-walking shoes for the win!
Analysis: The strategy in Everything Nice is unlike most time management games out there. Multi-tasking is, as always, your key to victory, but here you divide your attention between two major processes: building toys and packaging toys. Abby takes care of the former, guided by your clicking, but as soon as you drag the toy off the Wondermachine9000, it's all you. Abby continues her duties while you set the empty box out, drop the toy in, seal it up and place it on the shipping table. To further differentiate the two production lines, everything Abby does requires single clicks, while the packaging process is a drag-and-drop affair. It creates an interesting duality that I had some trouble wrapping my head around at first, if only because it's different from the vast majority of games in the genre.
The visual presentation doesn't impress me on any particular front, as I felt everything looked a little too dark, drab and stilted. But the art style is certainly unique in the casual realm of happy colors and shiny objects, so I still appreciated it on some levels. Many of the hotspots are a little awkward to reach (material machines, I'm looking at you), and I felt the draging mechanic used when placing and wrapping boxes was a bit unreliable. Sometimes, it seemed, the item would "stick" to my cursor, other times I had to click twice.
The challenge level in Everything Nice is a notch or two higher than most casual time management games. I was sort of shocked when I didn't breeze through half the game with an expert score on every level. Part of this comes from the need to memorize recipes (almost three dozen!) in order to be more efficient. It wastes valuable time clicking on each toy to check its composition before setting Abby to work.
Despite a few mechanical shortcomings, Everything Nice churns out a challenging game of quick clicking and fast recalling. It's like you took took one ball of time management, one recipe book, and one pinch of Miriel the Magical Merchant, put it all in a Wondermachine9000 and poof, out comes Everything Nice.