Help wanted – hyperactive salon stylist. Your job involves plucking nose hair, washing cavity-filled mouths, and applying blue hair extensions to bald men. If this sort of thing appeals to you, then go down to Sara’s Super Spa for an application. This is one time management game that’s hard to forget!

Sarah’s Super Spa Deluxe is an expanded version of Shockwave’s popular Web game Sara’s Super Spa. The story is minimalist. It starts with Sarah and her best friend Gisele shopping for new locations for the spa. After a bunch of let downs, they finally settle in one at the top floor of the shopping mall.

Because so many tasks rely on positioning and dragging the mouse, it’s very much like playing on the Wii. If you have played games like Cooking Mama or Cooking Academy, you will be familiar with the mechanics. Sara’s Spa surpasses even these in terms of sheer number of tasks, and in the speed at which they are introduced.

You must move customers to different stations, much like in Sally’s Spa and other service games. Once they get there, however, you have to play a whole variety of minigames in order to keep them satisfied. These minigames are tough. The instructions are often vague, so it may take some time to understand them. 

So, what kind of minigames can you expect?  Hair dying, exfoliating, pedicures, facials, massage, and just about every spa treatment you can think up. There are too many to cover in detail, but all involve following instructions, and carefully positioning the mouse pointer. Some are funnier than others. To apply a clay facial mask, you must hold down the left mouse button and apply the clay to empty space. Don’t get it in the eyes, nose, or mouth, or you’ll lose the game. 

When shaving beards, you are shown a picture of the ideal beard shape, and must use the razor to remove the relevant hair sections.

Waxing is done at the nail station. Why? I’m not sure. For this, you yank the wax strips off of hairy backs and legs. The client yelps in pain, and yes, you do see hair on the wax strip. Plucking is equally amusing. Use the tweezers to pluck out nose and ear hair as the customer flinches. For this, you hold and press the mouse, and yank in the right direction. Ouch!

One of the most challenging and strange is the teeth cleaning game. Icky. Shouldn’t you go to the dentist for this? Anyhow, you follow the arrows to apply the bubbles and clean the gross looking mouth. Then you use some sort of laser to get rid of cavities. To do this, click repeatedly on the spots.

Those above are just scratching the surface. You can wash, dye, cut, perm, and blow dry hair, fix all manner of skin ailments, and even cure baldness. Simply pour the tonic on the target spots, and poof — instant afro!

As you advance, you can buy more hired help. These assistants will help you serve more clients, earning more money. Assistants gain skill gradually with time, so it takes a fews game days until they are well trained. Some picky customers will refuse to be served by unskilled assistants, demanding your special attention.

Your business also expands as you go along, and you can purchase more stations to serve clients. You also have customization ability, which allows you to rearrange stations, and buy and sell different stations to maximize your profit.

The graphics are quirky and unique, and there are tons of funny sound effects. Clients grunt and groan as you wax their legs and pluck their ear hair – well, it’s certainly realistic! Without a doubt, there is tons to do, and it’s challenging to master all of the tasks.

On the downside, it’s fairly difficult to master each task. You are given practically no instructions, and very intense time pressure in regular mode. From day one, the customers pour in and bombard you with dozens of tasks. I had to switch to easy mode in order to get a grasp on what was happening in the game. However…if you can manage to get passed that and learn how to complete each task, the variety of jobs is pretty cool. You really can do a lot more than in most spa games.

Sara’s Super Spa is not for those who shy away from pressure. It’s fast-paced, and you learn as you go along. Players who are used to flash games or Wii games might find it more comfortable than those who are used to the typical time management dash-style games. However, if you’re looking for something different, enjoy quirky games, and want a real challenge, then it will definitely give you a run for your money.

For similar games, try Sally’s Spa, Wendy’s Wellness, Spa Mania, and Cooking Academy.