Management and tattooing don't, on the face of it, make an obvious pair. But the same is true of management and hot springs or shopping malls, and Kairosoft made pretty good games out of those.

Tattoo Tycoon by HandyGames can’t quite match up to its quicker Kairosoftian brethren. It's a fair stab at bringing some originality to the management genre, but flaws keep it from really succeeding.

'Nuff ink

As with Casino Crime, you’re charged with bringing your establishment up from nothing. Decorations like cacti or tables full of tattooing magazines increase your reputation and attract more customers.

A sizeable portion of the game is devoted to placing and maintaining this reputation by keeping the plants watered and not overdoing it with any one particular decoration.

The rest of the game focuses on the business of tattooing itself. Customers first need consultations, which all involve a very basic mini-game in which you have to determine what tattoo they want with well-timed presses of the X button.

After this, there’s the tattooing process itself – another reflex-based mini-game that has you holding down the needle at the right time so as not to cause too much pain. The amount of money you get will depend on how steady your inking is and how little pain you cause.

Tit for tatt

These two actions are the basis of the entire game, but you can also make money by putting vending machines, clothes racks, and poster racks out and setting their prices accordingly.

As the game wears on the amount of micromanagement only increases, with the ability to design new tattoos taking up valuable consultation time, forcing you to prioritise activities.

Disappointingly, this design process doesn’t involve any kind of creativity on your part. It’s just another meter that increases as time goes by, rewarding you with a tattoo of a tribal sword or an angry wolf’s head.

Unfortunately, the game also often reaches a plateau of doing the same two or three things over and over again until you're rewarded with the next bunch of items and abilities. This means there are long periods when it takes quite a while for things to pick up again.

Tattoo Tycoon is more original than most management games in terms of subject matter, but in terms of gameplay it feels a bit outdated on the Xperia Play.