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Nintendo WiiWare Review: Bonsai Barber

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Get your daily dose of edible entertainment in this hair styling WiiWare game where you set daily appointments in a fun, fresh format. It’s a good change of pace where you never die and don’t have “lives”. You still have three save slots and a handy help book to set the optional appointments, helpful instructions and unlockable archives.

Use your scissors, clippers, a comb, water spray bottle, paint and a camera. Your blades cut more than veggie growth and the remote controls (A and B buttons) mimic real scissor movements while your clippers give you detailed cuts, though interchangeable blades would have been even better. The comb basically smooths out any spaces while you color just about anything with the paintbrush. Capture special events with your camera for bonuses, special unlockables or post pictures to the message board and send them to friends. An ideal two-player option gets everyone in the game…or presents you with a unique two handed challenge. Special events like the Grand Fete require high quality five star cuts for even more bonuses while other challenges (e.g. lights out, bees swarming, etc.) have common sense solutions.

Create several styles for 12 customers, which have their own unique storyline. Characters give you helpful prompts and hints throughout each session. The eclectic cache includes a carrot, cactus, catnip and cherry twins. This group communicates, competes and charms with all ages action fun for one or two players where you choose the styles and details in an open ended environment, just watch out for some reactions, though not as harsh as you think because you can ignore many character requests without any resulting penalty. The banana probably presents the most challenging cut mainly because its white outline blends into the light yellow colors too well.

The flexible game format gives you freedoms outside what character approve/disapprove. Once you figure out the processes, experiment with objects like apples; tickle with the razor or slice with the scissors. You will receive postcards from the characters or email alerts when you miss appointments, which can be set in your appointment book (five maximum each day). When you miss appointments, you might miss one character, which results in messages saying you “haven’t turned up for work in over a week.” It won’t make or break the game, just rotate people around to avoid any complaints.

The appealing visuals and always available assistance via Prunella the Practice Plant keep your growing interest in short bursts while adding realism with daily duties and appointment keeping. A great value for the 1000 Wii Points with high production work, dynamic music, pleasant sound effects and smooth controls that rotate objects well put this title in the essential Wii game library.

Bonsai Barber is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for comic mischief.

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