Need to chill out? Stress being a little extra stressful today? You should stop by Sally's Studio, a new time management game that isn't all about pulling your hair out trying to get everything done. Sure, customers come in, they want things, and you need to deliver them, but in this world of yoga, exercise, and spa treatments, it's more about taking it easy than clicking faster than your mouse can handle.
Sally knows how to stay healthy, but when her favorite gym closes down, she decides to make an investment and keep the business running. Soon, her chain of spas expands to cover the world, roaming across the continents to provide all sorts of healthy/happy-making exercises for every kind of person.
The set-up is the same as most time management games, so you won't find many surprises at the start. Customers walk in and take a seat. Drag them on to the warm-up area, or straight to the workout mat if that's their preference, then click on them and Sally will begin her instruction. Move each person to the next station when they're ready, then head over to the cash register to send them on their way, a big pile of money landing in your wallet in the process.
You can use the cash you earned to upgrade things in your spa between levels. Buy better mats that allow people to get their workouts completed faster (where's one of those for the real world?!), pick up magazines and comfortable chairs to keep customers patient, or even hire instructors to keep people busy so you don't have to do it all yourself. There's a good variety of choices that lets you customize the game to suit your playing style, and some items you get to keep when moving from city to city.
Analysis: A run-of-the-mill time management game by all appearances, Sally's Studio separates itself from the crowd by dialing back on the speed and frustration and by providing a lovely atmosphere to draw you in. The whole game is very soothing, from its presentation to the set-up, and even when customers are piling up in the waiting room, you never feel too pressured to serve them. Most have sturdy patience meters and can wait a few moments while you deal with everyone else!
The visual style of Sally's Studio is something special. Thick outlines, soft colors, smooth gradients, smiling customers — it's enough to make you happy and relaxed yourself. Complexity or challenge are both missing from Sally's Studio, a slight disappointment if you were looking for a sturdy time management experience. But the variety of settings and number of levels will keep you busy for a long time, so it's worth it in the end.