Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted is touted as the ultimate collection of Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) content. The greatest hits of scares!
This franchise dominated the horror genre in 2014 with its thematic use of childhood amusement and attractions to frighten players. You play a security guard hired on to survive a night of haunting scares where animatronic creatures lurk around the corner and play creepy circus music the closer they get to you.
Help Wanted’s opening introduces you to FNAF. A robotic voice claims this collection consists of recreations of the fabrications the media spread about their company. Fazbear’s Pizza (the Chuck E. Cheese parody in this universe) is saving face by poking fun at the horrors that the media claimed dwelled within its facilities at night. According to Fazbear’s Pizza, why not poke fun at the bad press and see if you can survive? I really enjoyed this opening. Instead of dumping you into a menu with various game modes, this introduction gave the collection a chapter in the FNAF story itself. Canonically, Fazbear’s Pizza is now marketing off of their bad publicity with this game. This also seems to indicate that the games before it were the actual events played out, while this new title is their PR response.
Help Wanted consists of many of the mini games and scenarios from the series thus far with a few new ones, as well. Every game mode is exactly as you expect for a night’s stay at Fazbear’s Pizza. However, the gameplay on the Switch just didn’t work for me.
The biggest issue I ran into is the transition to Joy-Con controls. In other ports of Help Wanted, this game is promoted as a VR experience. And perhaps that’s where the game mechanics failed. Even with the option to turn the Joy-Con sensitivity down, it felt slippery and made it difficult to highlight anything and interact with the objects and controls in the room. And when I say difficult, I mean it. Just trying to click on the control pad to switch cameras proved a feat in itself, and half the game is tracking those robotic monsters throughout the pizzeria. It was so daunting just to do basic tasks with this sensitivity issue that I failed within two minutes multiple times.
Based on the information I could find, I’m not exactly sure if this title was supposed to work with a Nintendo Labo VR Kit, or if the VR integration was designed for other consoles and PC. I don’t have a VR Kit to try, but it did make me curious. However, in the other versions, the full title is Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted, so it’s likely just a bad port to Switch.
It’s a shame this game is so hard to handle. The original version of Help Wanted was released over a year ago for other devices, and it was a highly rated addition to the series. This makes me wonder if the game didn’t receive the full playtesting it should have.
For players new to the FNAF franchise, this collection has the potential to be an interesting taste test for if you’ll like this horror series. But I would caution against trying it on the Switch, as it was just unplayable in my case. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted had a promising opening, and I was excited to play through the collection. But until the controls get a serious recalibration, I can’t recommend this for the Switch. If you’re still curious, a portion of the FNAF series is available on Nintendo Switch. Perhaps that’s the best way to experience this series if you’re primarily a Nintendo Switch player.
Review: Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted (Nintendo Switch)
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted’s port to the Nintendo Switch has proven to be a difficult one. The slippery controls render the game difficult to play, but I don’t consider this a hit against the franchise. FNAF will continue to be a fan favorite, and I’m sure more games are planned for the future.