Review: Enjoy Your Massage! (WiiWare)

Rubbed the wrong way

Most of the time when you talk about hand-drawn 2D graphics in a game, it's a good thing. In the case of Enjoy Your Massage!, however, it's a hideous thing. The stock girl who you'll be rubbing down over and over again looks like she was whipped up in a minute with a Wacom drawing tablet, complete with a wobbly outline and one seriously funky ear.

The graphics consist of little to no animation, with the only sprites coming from the creepy angel faces that float off satisfied customers' backs. During gameplay, all your clients share the same stock female body and are only differentiated by the crudely drawn hair on their heads. The body is just static, lying there with a frown popping up once in a while when you rub them the wrong way.

The gameplay is trite, being nothing more than a distasteful version of a Simon game. It cuts the customer's back into nine sections, forming a grid of squares that light up in a sequence, and it's up to you to memorise this and rub those sections in the correct order. Each section emits a certain tone when rubbed, making memorising a bit easier. You'll use the Wii Remote to direct two open hands around the screen, pressing the A button to rub an area. If you hit the correct spot, odd little angel faces confusingly rise from the back; if you rub the wrong place, the word “ouch” pops up. The sequences grow longer with success, but never exceed seven in a row, and if you mess up they revert back to three.

A bar on the right side of the screen represents your customer's pleasure, and with each successful or failed rub-down, it fills up or loses a number of slots respectively. To win, you need to fill it completely within the time limit or you fail the massage.

The first levels are very easy, with a small pleasure bar to fill and plenty of time. Actually, the clock never becomes an issue, as you're given more time for difficult massages. Winning a round isn't all that hard, even later on in the game, but to unlock all the clients you'll have to score very well. This means not only filling the pleasure meter before time runs out but also failing as little as possible.

Customers you'll be massaging include a rock star, an adrenaline junkie racer and a blushing bride-to-be. These women all have an important event to attend and apparently chose to get a back rub in preparation, so it's up to you to complete the massage; you're “rewarded” with a drawing of your customer, which you get to inspect between levels, if you succeed.

This is where the developers really amp up the creep factor. The mementos show the satisfied customer engaging in her respective profession. These pictures are mildly sexualised, and players can use the Wii Remote to zoom in to certain areas. One of these voyeuristic shots include a low-angled picture of a female golfer, preparing for a swing. The camera stares up from the ground as she grips a golf club between her legs. Ew.

The cutscenes aren't any better, consisting of similarly gross two-dimensional drawings of women who slide into screen to say something and then slide off when finished. Think Trauma Center but way uglier – and way sleazier: the girls you communicate with are all busty and sometimes have a bra strap falling off their shoulder.

Conclusion

Whether you beat the game or not, there's no happy ending to Enjoy Your Massage. Merely playing this game is embarrassing and insulting. If you enjoy classic memory games like Simon or Atari's Touch Me, you may glean a small amount of value from Enjoy Your Massage! However, with so many good memory games already out there, many of which are free, way more challenging and fun, there is little reason to choose this turd. Unless, of course, you enjoy explaining blushing anime girls to curious onlookers.