Help Wanted
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-06-27 Wii Mini-games E (Everyone) Hudson

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to preview Hudson's Help Wanted, a mini-game title containing over 50 odd-jobs ranging from the commonplace farmer and tailor to more extravagant positions such as aerial photographer or stunt driver. From the limited content presented in the demo, Help Wanted seemed to show a lot of promise, but did contain a few control problems that needed to be addressed. Unfortunately for the game, however, these control issues not only remain in the final product, but seem to have gotten worse.

Help Wanted focuses on its very colorful, bright, cheery and anime-styled version of the temporary job market, as players choose either a boy or girl character to represent them through the game's text-based storyline. The story here is entirely absurd, with your character being the member of a shopping obsessed family, who spends every free minute watching home shopping networks, buying everything in sight.

Meanwhile, a massive meteor has set its sights on Earth. If it collides with the planet, everyone dies, so of course our family turns to their trusty home shopping networks for a solution, where they find the Transformowatch, capable of transforming someone into a giant superhero, who would then be able to attack the meteor and send it back into the depths of space.

Goal now in sight, you must enter the job market in an effort to save up the appropriate funds to buy the Transformowatch and save not only yourself and your family, but the entire planet.

Your grandfather gives you his old work uniforms, allowing you to immediately tackle positions like the tailor's job, which sees you holding the Wii-mote sideways, and rotating it horizontally to move the fabric under the sewing machine's needle. Dozens of other positions are available in all, with each game having its own set of controls.

Some jobs, like the stunt person and grill cook, utilize only the Wii-mote, while others, like the dairy famer and fisher require the use of the nunchuck as well. Either way, each game has simple controls, like flinging the Wii-mote downwards in order to throw your net into the water to catch fish, or pointing the Wii Remote at fires and pressing the A button to use a fireman's hose.

In theory, the controls are quite intuitive, taking little more than a few text bubbles to explain and, again, in theory, master. However, where the demo contained a few control problems in terms of overall responsiveness to actions, here the same issues plague the game like some kind of disease, becoming progressively more annoying and debilitating as you unlock higher difficulty levels (through the repetition of tasks).

These issues are most notable in jobs like the carrot farmer, that require you to fling the Wii-mote in an upwards motion to pull a row of carrots from the ground. Instead of a simple flick of the wrist however, the game requires a massive jerk of the arm, which is not only painful after you've pulled a few dozen carrots, but often results in a technical malfunction on the part of the Wii Remote that turns it off. Then, of course, the game has a spasm telling you that communications with the Wii Remote have been lost, and you have to wait for it to restart before being able to continue with the task.

Needless to say, finding a rhythm in jobs like these is nigh impossible, resulting in a paycheck at the end of the day of just a few dollars, if you complete the task at all within the time limit.

But it's not just flinging motions that need work, as the stunt driver game (which has you holding the Wii-mote horizontally) forces you to turn the Wii-mote a full 90 degrees before responding to your command to turn, while the aerial photographer's camera is the exact opposite, and moves almost 360 degrees around with just a slight tilt of the Wii Remote.

All of that being said, there are a few gems here that work the way they should, most notably the tailor position and the haunted house position, which were already the two best games in the preview build, and continue to be here.

Working as a haunted house monster is especially entertaining, and is reminiscent of other puzzle games, in that (in this particular game) you move your character around a staging area with four doors, each color coded, and can watch from an overhead perspective as unsuspecting patrons enter each room. You can change your costume to go along with each colored room (for instance, your mummy costume is yellow, so you earn bonus points for using it solely in the yellow themed room), and by simply walking onto a secret turntable, you are sent into the room with the guest, and are able to scare the pants off of them for cash.

While these properly functioning games are fun on their own, many players will often find themselves relying solely on said jobs to earn funds, narrowing the 50 jobs available in the game down to a mere handful of tolerable options.

Regardless of which job you choose, you're only allowed to participate in one job per in-game day. Each morning you are forced to watch the same slow-moving, outer-space image of the meteor approaching earth, with an ominous soundtrack playing throughout, as the countdown is displayed on the screen as to how many days remain before the meteor enters the atmosphere.

Since it is literally impossible to earn the funds necessary to buy the Transformowatch within the 21 day limit the game starts with, you are also allowed to buy secondary attack items, like scary masks and palm fans that "scare" or "blow" the meteor further back into space, reversing the countdown anywhere from three days to three weeks at a time, until you can actually afford the Transformowatch. While it is nice to be able to get the meteor off your back for a few days by purchasing said items, you'll end up spending a lot of money doing so, basically ruining whatever chance you had at saving up for the watch in the first place.

If the jobs themselves performed better, of course funds would be easier to come by, but as it stands, the frustration level is quite high throughout the game's story mode.

Aside from the story mode, you can play any of the mini-games in an arcade style, simply working to beat your previous high scores, or you can take on the two-player mode, and challenge a friend to a handful of the Help Wanted's employment opportunities.

At the end of the day, Help Wanted may have had a lot of potential, but it lived up to almost none of it. If you are diehard fan of mini-game titles, the few enjoyable games here may earn it a rental, but not much else.

Special thanks to Laura Klang Glienna and Hudson for providing a copy of this title.