After Hudson’s relative success with Sports Island, last June, comes the first of two new titles; Job Island: Hard Working People and Sports Island 2. Job Island (aka Help Wanted) has to be one of the most bizarre ideas for a mini-games title yet, working!
Job Island has 3 main game modes: Employment office, which is the single player story mode; Career Fair, where you can practice the jobs you have received from the employment office; and Job Battle, a 2-player battle mode.
On the Job Island you'll be working through a total of 55 jobs to earn money which in turn will save the world from 10 threats hidden in the sky. There are 10 threats in total, some of which are really funny and also Japanese in humour. The jobs you can take on include Security Guard, Sushi Chef, Plane Cleaner, Haunted House Monster, Body-builder, and Sumo Referee, to name just a few.
The jobs are split into four different experience levels starting with a familiar Novice level then moving up to Pro, then Expert and finally an unlockable Master level. The experience levels also allows you to earn more cash, the higher your experience level the higher you get paid.
The story starts off with you selecting your character's sex and giving him or her a name. You then see that your Grandpa has discovered a comet in the sky, which later turns out to be a meteor heading for the Earth. You have 7 days before the meteor hits the Earth, which luckily is all the time you need to save enough money from your jobs to purchase the Transformowatch from the TV shopping channel, turning you into a super hero and, as a result, letting you save the world. Along the way you can postpone the threat by purchasing other items such as a scary mask or completing challenges such as achieving a perfect round in the body-building job, which will add additional days to the countdown.
The TV shopping has more to it than just purchasing items to save the world though, with four channels all offering different attractions. The first one is the "Point Channel" where you purchase the items to slow down or destroy the comet and other threats. Second is the "Memorial Channel" which allows you to buy items to keep in memorial hall alongside a collection book which records visitors to your hall. Third is the "Support Channel" where you can purchase items to help you with your jobs, and finally a "Uniform Channel" which is where you can purchase new... uniforms.
Other features of the story mode include being able to take on mystery jobs to earn double the usual money and challenges such as beating your best score for triple money (don’t beat your score though and you get half, or sometimes, no money). The story mode has an overly long introduction but it's harmless, simply trying to add a bit of a story and a purpose to what would otherwise be just another series of mini games.
Career Fair allows you to play the jobs you’ve unlocked in the story mode. You first choose from a number of characters including Mom, Grandpa and Grandma to play the games with, and then you can play the mini games without any story or cut-scenes. The game keeps track of your best score so that you can try to beat your top scores.
Job Battle is the much needed 2-player mode, because after all what is the point in mini games if you can’t challenge a friend to beat you? You each select a character then pick a set of rules. You have the choice of Free For All, where you see who performs best; Goal Money, where you set a target pay cheque and keep working until the first person earns that amount; Total Money where you set a number of rounds and see who has the most money; or Wins, where you select a number of wins and the first to get that amount wins. There are 15 jobs you can play in Job Battle, so there's plenty to challenge your friends with.
True to fashion with the other 'Island games from Hudson, Job Island has a very vibrant look and feel, fitting perfectly into its Japanese culture roots. There is nothing exceptional with the music though, it is relatively simple and gets tiresome but this is not unexpected from such a game.
Each mini game has a clear description of the controls, some of the mini games require just the Wii Remote, some just the Nunchuk and some need both. It has to be said that throughout the game there are a few noticeable control issues, but all said and done it shouldn't detract from the fun because the games are over in a relatively short amount of time.
Job Island is generally very enjoyable and has plenty of variety. Initially the story drags on but once you get past that there are very few parts that seem boring. It's also nice to see a game that has put some effort in, meaning each job has a sense of reason and purpose, rather than simply sticking a few mini games on a disc. There are plenty of reasons to go back to this game once you’ve completed the story mode: you can try to perfect each job and get master levels on all of them, beat your scores in the Career Fair or challenge a friend to see if they can beat you. The main thing about this game is that nearly all the mini-games are enjoyable which, when you consider there are 50 to choose from is an excellent achievement.