Sally's Spa
| Sally's Spa

As some of you might already be aware, the 'Sally' referred to in this game's title has already more than proven her business acumen by setting up and running a successful chain of hairdressing outlets in the game Sally's Salon.

However, she's ready for a change from her blow-drying hair, shaping eyebrows and filing nails past. And to accomplish this, she's opening a - wait for it - spa. A spa where she's giving facials, shaping eyebrows and filing nails. Well, it's easier to take baby steps towards a new career after all.

Running Sally's spa is unavoidably similar to running her salon - to the extent that players of the first game will only want to embark on this follow up if they really liked the way it played first time around.

Customers enter the spa at the start of the day and sit patiently in the waiting area with a bubble over their heads indicating what they've come for.

Typically, that's a burst in the sauna, a massage, facial and some nail painting. There are salt baths and a hot stones treatment too.

(For our readers unaware of what's involved with a hot stones massage, it translates as handing over enough money to keep yourself in food for a month for the pleasure of lying down with lukewarm rocks placed on your back. No wonder Sally's keen to get into the spa business.)

So, if a customer is waiting with the sauna sign over his head, you need to select that customer then select the sauna to move him over to it. Once his time is up there, another bubble will appear and you need to move him to the next area he wants to visit.

Finally, he ends up at the cash register where, if all has gone well, he pays you and add on a big fat tip.

Of course, customers don't just turn up one at a time, so the trick to Sally's Spa is multi-tasking. Sally can only take care of one thing at a time, but you can line actions up for her.

If you forget about a customer or don't move quickly enough, the number of patience hearts a customer has will reduce and you'll lose some of your tip. If a customer loses all of his hearts, he'll leave without paying.

The game is broken up into days, and there's a target amount of cash to make each day in order to move on. As an extra incentive to earn big cash, you can spend money on numerous spa upgrades in between work days. There are lots of items to buy - from a uniform that makes Sally move faster to a patience candle and improved massage tables and saunas.

So far, all of this is almost identical to Sally's Salon. But there are improvements. The biggest one is the introduction of proper mini-games.

Before, the only skill test - if you could call it that - was selecting the hairstyle or eyebrow shape that made your customer smile. You could only really fail at this if you were in too much of a hurry, or if you couldn't tell the difference between a smile and a frown.

Now there are proper mini-games as well as these - ones where you have to cut nails, swap about hot stones and choose the right colours of nail varnish. You also get to buy stock in in this game - which involves paying attention to what's in demand then buying it in.

Even with the extras, Sally's Spa is still a simple game to play. Aside from the endless customer-serving Survival mode, more hardcore gamers will find it a touch too easy. But you can't say it doesn't have appeal, both with its visuals and theme (if you're a fan of make-up and face masks, at least) and making it through each day is a deceptively addictive challenge.

Sally's Spa

It's very much like Sally's Salon - so if you've played that already, you won't find many surprises here. But Sally's Spa is still a well constructed, fun game that's perfect for the spa-loving multi-tasking gamer
Kath Brice
Kath Brice
Kath gave up a job working with animals five years ago to join the world of video game journalism, which now sees her running our DS section. With so many male work colleagues, many have asked if she notices any difference.