A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game has a sense of humor that is slightly more mature than that of the average Wii mini-game compilation. Joke subjects include flatulence, an idle threat of nudity, and a vague, "unspeakable" space object that has been blurred out. That said, there are also several positive themes, such as working to earn money, and saving the planet. A small amount of violence takes place in one mini-game that stars ninjas, but the rest of the game's activities are quite innocuous. Note, too, that consumerism plays a role: The protagonist regularly browses and makes purchases from a quartet of television shopping networks.
What's it about?
HELP WANTED is perhaps the most bizarre and eclectic Wii mini-game compilation yet. Players step into the shoes of a teenager who is forced to take on odd jobs in order to earn money. This cash is spent on items sold over fictional television shopping networks. For each item purchased, players earn reward points that they can spend on items that will help them defend the planet from an enormous meteor hurtling toward the Earth. Wacky narrative twists -- at one point our teen's anime-style mug morphs into a much more realistic countenance (which, oddly, other characters find repugnant) -- take place at regular intervals.
The jobs themselves seem oddly normal in light of the strange story. Using the Wii remote and nunchuk's motion-sensitive and infrared features, players pull carrots in a farm, teach a class of students, cook food, deliver packages, and perform manicures. There are no less than 50 of these jobs, and players will become very familiar with all of them as they play through a surprisingly lengthy single-player story mode and challenge their friends in two-player competitive play.
Is it any good?
Clearly, Help Wanted isn't a standard collection of mini-games. Not only does it offer up a truly eccentric narrative made to seem all the more odd by the seemingly mundane jobs that our protagonist takes on, it also delivers a surprisingly deep single-player mode that ought to take most players several days to work through. The mini-games, though not particularly innovative, take time to master, and come with three levels of ascending difficulty (and increasing monetary reward) that are unlocked as players improve their skills. And with a variety of game variables -- such as helpful support items available through the shopping networks that aid players in mini-games (like better work gloves for carrot pulling) and a variety of random events (such as younger siblings who occasionally hide said support items) -- players are always kept on their toes. How much players enjoy this strange little game will likely depend directly on their level of appreciation for quirky Japanese humor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about employment, earning an income, and the responsibilities inherent in both. Have you considered taking on an after-school or summer job to earn a little extra money? What would you do with that money? Do you think that this game accurately represents the jobs it depicts? Does it seem believable that one might be able to work as, say, an aerial photographer, a dentist, and a circus clown in the space of just a few days?
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