Style Savvy: Trendsetters review, clothing crazedPosted 6:21 pm on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 by Ryan Southard
I took it upon myself to confront the most challenging thing to this point in my time at Nerd Reactor: reviewing a so-called “girl game”. I would like to point out that it is not possible to be a male character in this game, so calling it a game for girls is quite appropriate. I input my name, “Ryan”, and later found that I could only choose to be a female. I then proceeded to virtually exist as a female named Ryan who was referred to via the pronouns “she” and “her” (which has been a bit awkward, really). However, Style Savvy: Trendsetters is about having fun with fashion, so let’s not get too bogged down with gender issues.
Release Date: Oct. 22nd, 2012
Players are first tasked with creating their character. Here you’ll find most of the basic options of character creation without too much focus on relatively unimportant details. You get to choose your avatar’s height, skin color, color and style of hair, eye shape and color, and mouth. After that, you will begin your slow road to success (hopefully) in the fast-moving world of fashion.
The core of the gameplay is focused on dressing characters in a way that pleases them. Often, they will blatantly tell you which style they would like (preppy, girly etc.), so making customers happy isn’t usually a problem. There are some occasions when customers are very vague about what they want. They might simply ask you to find them an article of clothing (or a whole outfit) that suits their taste. This is where your study of fashion pays off. The game gives you descriptions of each style as the game progresses, and if you know your styles well, you just might make even those vague customers happy. The game also allows you to ask customers to try something on, or to simply consider the clothing. Asking them to try something on can be risky, because if they don’t like what you’re recommending, they may walk out of the store empty handed. On the other hand, if they like your suggestion, they may ask you to create a whole outfit, increasing your store’s profits immensely.
Another main component of the game requires some strategy: managing your own store. Not long after you become an employee of a boutique, you are given the right to manage it. The interior, in-store music, front window mannequins, and the types and amounts of clothing are all up for consideration. You can stock up on just a few styles of clothing, hoping to always please specific types of customers, or you can try for a variety, pleasing many but risking running out of certain items at crucial times. The game limits the amount of items your store can hold, so you do have to be somewhat decisive on what to stock. While shopping at a store for new inventory, it would have been a great help to be able to see the amounts of different pieces of clothing that you already own. Instead, you have to click on each piece to see if you currently have it in your inventory. It’s a small oversight that may slowly grate on players over time.
While the core gameplay focuses on dressing up characters, and it can get a bit repetitive, the game progresses at a nice pace, introducing new elements at every turn. You’ll start out with simple style suggestions, but along the way you’ll gain the ability to catch customers’ attention via a well dressed mannequin. More and more types of clothing stores will become available to purchase inventory for your store, and you’ll later be able to go to makeup and hairdressers to further customize your character’s appearance. A furniture store allows you to add a more personal touch to your apartment. Players familiar with the first iteration will notice that they’re now able to buy clothes and sell them to men. A bit later on, fashion show contests will challenge you to oust the other competitors by having the best assembled outfit on the runway.
Style Savvy: Trendsetters also manages to allow gamers to imprint their foot on its digital landscape. You may find as you walk about the city that customers you’ve helped are wearing your clothing. They may even meet you at your store to mention how many compliments they’ve gotten, increasing their trust in you as their personal style assistant. Then there are the times in which you may end up on the cover of a magazine for winning a fashion contest, or for impressing a photographer who saw you at the park. It’s little touches like these that give players a sense that they’re having an impact on the world.
The presentation of Style Savvy is some of the best you’re likely to have seen on the 3DS thus far. Characters closely resemble those seen in Japanese shojo manga, they each have their own personality, and thanks to this being a game about fashion, they vary greatly in appearance. Customers who really like the recommendations you give them go into an anime-like animation that expresses just how elated they are. For example, if the person was given clothing in a “feminine” style, they appear in a field of roses accompanied by some french-sounding accordion music. Each style seems to have its own animation, and they’re all quite catchy and fun to watch; all the more because they signal your success.
There is dialogue in the game, but while it can be entertaining now and then, I can’t help but feel that it was a missed opportunity. For those of you who aren’t aware, Japan has a history of entertainment that dramatizes the seemingly mundane. They can make the act of baking cakes intense, informative, and way more enjoyable than one would expect. Nintendo could have gone this route, but instead chose the easier route of keeping dialogues brief, slightly informative, and occasionally funny. Substantial dialogue could have helped to better balance the experience.
Style Savvy: Trendsetters is a well presented package. The prerequisite for playing (and enjoying) it is a love for fashion. You soon will be buried in clothes, and there are definitely plenty of people who would welcome that chance with open arms. The game starts you off in the lowly position of style assistant, but empowers you to stylishly change the world around you. The personality of each character is fairly well defined, and for those of you who don’t like overly drawn out dialogues, you needn’t worry. However, that also means that meaningful conversations are hard to come by, making the game a bit shallow at times. If you’re looking to fulfill a need to amass several wardrobes worth of stylish, virtual clothing, look no further, this game is perfect for you.
Editors note: Having received the download copy of the game, I was not able to test the AR function which allows players to place their characters in the real world and take pictures of them.
Ryan Southard is a video game enthusiast, dissecting games down to their tiniest details. Whether it’s new or it’s old, as long as it’s awesome, he’ll play it. Follow him on Twitter at @Ryan_Southard