Review by SMBSuperShowFan

"The Best Barber Simulation Game"

Bonsai Barber
WiiWare

Bonsai Barber has you as the new guy in town and the town's barber is retiring and you're the one who is going to take his place. Now here's the biggest brain buster. You don't cut the hair of people, you cut the leaves off of trees. In your vast arsenal of weapons you get Clippers, which help you shave large areas of leaves at one time and trim smooth edges. Scissors, which help you cut twigs on the tree as well as cutting leaves. If during your mission of leaf cutting you make a fatal mistake you can use the spray can to re-grow cut twigs and leaves. You have a camera in which you can take pictures of your fantastic masterpieces and share with friends via WiiConnect24. A paint brush is at your disposal if you wish to color the bonsai's hair. For some hair styles the paint brush is required, the colors include Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, and White, unfortunately there is no mixing of colors, so paint is rather limited in selection. You are also equipped with a comb if you wish to bend and move the twigs around. And your final item is a gong mallet, which is used to end your cutting session. You can access the item selection by pressing any direction on the d-pad. To help get the feel of all of these items there is a potted plant that you can practice on to help get better ratings on the hair styles that you have unlocked, or you can just play around and try your own crazy hair styles.

One of the more interesting bits about Bonsai Barber is it's meant to be played in small intervals every day. You can probably only get about thirty minutes of game play out of the game per day. To some this may be a bad thing, but I think for a game like this it's a brilliant move. Each day you will have a set number of clients in which you have to cut their hair. When you start out you will have a limited amount of hair styles you can pick from, and most of the time they'll tell you which style to use. So for the first week(maybe even more) you'll still be unlocking new content as the days go on. There are vast amounts of hair styles to choose from, over sixty to be more specific. They range from pyramid shapes to hamburgers. While you cut the hair you will be judged on a star rating system. There are five total stars available in which you can earn. You're judged on your precision and accuracy of the hair style, depending on the shape and color of the hair style. For example, if you cut a perfect heart you will only get a three to four star rating if you don't paint it the correct color. When you're done cutting the hair you can take out your gong mallet and end the cutting session. Many times the customers are about to go on vacation so they want a specific haircut to where they're going, and if you do a good enough job they'll send you a post card to your Wii Menu and sometimes even award you with gifts. On top of cutting the citizens hair there are also lots of other activities you can do. There is an achievement system, or as they call it in this game “Awards”. In which you'll get rewarded for completing specific tasks such as earning a certain amount of total stars, or performing 5 star leaf cuts on all your clients for a day, or taking a certain picture of something. Other things you can earn are post cards and gifts from satisfied customers. On several occasions a “Fete Festival” will come to town and you must perform special hair cuts that are not available for every day use, it is a competition against a rival town. Sometimes when you're cutting hair there will sometimes be certain obstacles you must over come to get the job done. They range from a power outage, resulting in you having to use a flash light to shine on your client so you can see them, sometimes there are spiders that come down from the ceiling and you must cut their webs, there's a bird that does not get in your way but you can cut him scissors or paint him different colors for different effects, and then there are clouds, sometimes they just float around and don't really bother you, but sometimes they turn into rain clouds and if it rains on your client their hair will begin to grow back, similar to the water can item, so it's in your best interest to get rid of them as soon as possible. It'll also be a good idea to keep coming back to the game often because if you begin to miss a lot of work you will get a message on your Wii asking where you have been and the character's leaves will begin to turn gray. Fixing the gray hair though is easy enough though, just shave them completely and then water them to grow it back good as new(painting them does not work).

The graphics in this game is very charming. It's a very cartoony look, and looking at the subject matter and purpose of the game, I think it fits it extremely well. It's a very colorful game which makes all your crazy hair styles look even better. There isn't much variety in the music but what's there is very calm and catchy. It's not the best soundtrack in the world but it does not detract you from your barbering and sort of meshes together with your experience. The controls in this game work really well, you just select your item and point the remote at the screen and press either A or B to perform the action. You can twist the remote around to move the item in any direction you want allowing for perfect precision when you're trying to hit hard to reach spots with scissors or the clippers, that way you don't cut more than you want. All in all, this game is very simple, but at the same time it's a very deep experience if you're willing to come back for more. The game costs $10 and you may not get your investment returned right away, but that's the point of this game, to keep coming back for months to come to unlock new items, try to win festivals, take funny pictures to share with friends, and more. It's a good way to kill half an hour a day with enough interest to keep coming back for more. However, it is a very niche game, and I can understand if cutting hair just isn't your thing, but if you're open to a game that does not have swords, guns, or magic, I think it's a good buy.

Bonsai Barber receives an eight out of ten for it's innovative concepts for a game, and it's longevity if you give it the chance. Bonsai Barber is available for Wii on the Wiiware takes up 127 blocks.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/09

Game Release: Bonsai Barber (US, 03/30/09)


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