In my years of school and work I have been involved with many group projects. There have been countless times where we would all start working on an idea, only to at some point during the process realize that it’s not a very good idea. So we would scrap it and start fresh. This moment never happened during the production of Enjoy your massage!
Quality of the game be damned, that’s still a great title. Whether it’s the mysterious decision not to capitalize ‘massage’, or the exclamation mark to really emphasize how badly they want you to enjoy yourself, that title a work of art.
The game itself does not hold a candle to that title. I’m not going to mince words folks, Enjoy your massage! is not a quality product. In fact, aside from some unintentional hilarity, I can’t think of a single redeeming quality for this one.
Now the idea that someone made a game centered on the concept of giving people massages is already strange enough. Yes there are those bizarre massage simulators on the 360 that simply cause the controller to shake, but this is an actual attempt at creating a massage themed video game.
So the next logical question is of course, how exactly did they go about making said massage themed video game? Well, you remember that game Simon that was popular back in the 80’s? Did you ever use that and think, “man this is pretty fun, but I wish I was doing this on the back of a virtual naked lady”? No of course you didn’t because you’re not insane. It doesn’t matter though because Enjoy your massage! gives you that experience regardless.
Each stage starts with a client coming into your beauty parlour to complain about their sore back. They are always on their way somewhere and need you to fix them up before the big event. My personal favourite was a bride who wants to be relaxed on her wedding day so she comes in for a massage several days early, wearing her full wedding dress. Something else odd is that when talking to the client, the screen slowly keeps zooming in closer to them. There’s no reason given for it so I assume your character is just leaning their face towards them as they talk.
After the quick introduction to the client you move to the massage. The client’s naked back is divided into 9 sections, representing different notes. Before each sequence you will be given a pattern to memorize, then you simply repeat the pattern, which causes small, smokey, smiley face angels to fly out of the client’s back. Having never received a professional massage before, I can’t verify if this is how a real massage works, but it feels suspicious.
Once you complete all of the sequences you will be given a rating. I got an ‘S’ ranking on my first try for every client. No matter how many mistakes I made, I was always awarded with the highest ranking. At least this means you won’t be tempted to go back and replay stages, so consider this a plus.
After this you have one last brief exchange with the client, although every single one of them says, “It’s a miracle! I’ve never felt this good before!” The developers really couldn’t come up with a few different ways of saying “Hey thanks”? Then you are a given a photo of your client at the event they hint towards in their opening dialogue. You place this photo in a gallery for future viewing. Again, not being familiar with the world of professional massage, is it customary for the masseuse to show up days later at your wedding/golf event/NASCAR race and take a photo of you to hold on to? Unless you’re secretly playing as a masseuse/budding serial killer, in which case I’m looking forward to the sequel, “Enjoy your massage, then Prepare to die!!”
In case you didn’t already guess, this game is not good. Memorizing patterns might work as a mini-game in something larger, but not as the central concept of the entire experience. Aside from slight differences in the character models, nothing changes in this game from start to finish. The lack of effort on display here is incredible.
To add to that, I’ve never seen so many typos in a game with such little dialogue. Each client says maybe 3 sentences so you would think they had time to proofread it. Instead we have such phrases as “That’ll make me feeling better”, or “She’ll give you an hard time”, or my absolute favourite, “She’s a very spoilt girl”. SPOILT! People looked at this game and said, “Yep, it’s ready for sale”! Insanity.
Mercifully the whole thing is over quickly. I completed every stage with the best rating in 27 minutes according to the Wii clock. I think a few of those minutes were spent staring bewildered at the word “spoilt”, so it could be even less time than that.
This game needed to go in one of two directions. It needed to either go M rated and be completely hypersexual, or completely off the wall insane and have cartoon bears or elves or what have you. Instead, it’s a really boring rip-off of a 30-year-old game. Enjoy your massage! is exactly the kind of game that gives WiiWare its often piss poor reputation. Stay far, far away.