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Ubisoft continue their 'life as a game' metaphor with an Imagine title about being a Fashion Model.
Their game builds on the aspirational desire of young girls and boys, by granting access to play at being a grown up. After babysitting sim Imagine: Baby Club DS, teaching manager Imagine: Teacher DS not to mention girl band antics of Imagine: Girl Band DS, Fashion Model completes the set.
Puzzle games pose the player a problem to solve, and then provided a limited set of tools with which to solve it. This can be as simple as arranging 2D blocks on top of each other, or as complex as balancing objects in a 3D environment.
The initial interaction is what usually hooks players in for the first few hours, but it is the game's ability to scale both the size and complexity of each puzzle that distinguishes the truly excellent experiences.
Fashion Model extends the usual character dress-up features found in other puzzle games. Not only can you purchase and try on clothes and jewellery, here you can also cut, sew and design your own. This approach is then extended to other 'important' aspects of every girl's appearance such as hair, makeup and accessories.
On the client's screen you are presented with a number of fashion related mini-games. These usually revolve around a specific requirement for an outfit that, once completed, enables the player to access more of the garment making and styling features.
Whereas other mini-games are time restricted and focus on action rather than creativity here, things are the other way around. Within the bounds of the available style and fabrics, the emphasis here is on quality over quantity.
Players will be drawn to the game to get the opportunity to try out dressing up, applying makeup and creating outfits. Younger players will thrill at getting their hands on these things which may well still be out of bounds in the real world. Testament to the success of this the desire to show their creations to parents and siblings - 'look what I made'. Having picked out and customised the perfect summer wardrobe it seems to be instinctive to tell everyone about it.
These mini-games, not being driven by time limits, can last considerably longer than other titles. Players enjoy taking their time as they make (and re-make) their minds up about what best goes with what. There are a steady stream of activities, fabrics and style to unlock that should ensure most players find enough to keep them amused for a good fifteen hours.
Although the game is aimed at young players, its focus is on dressing models rather than girls of an age who may be playing the game. Although never overly provocative, some parents may want to play through some early levels to get a sense of how the game is pitched. Certainly this is about class rather than glamour - but it is womanly rather than girly dress-up that is on offer.
Slightly older gamers will enjoy the variety and challenge the game offers, and should soon set about creating their perfect wardrobe.
Players hitting teenage years may find the game a little on the simple side for them. Compare the visuals and style to the magazine they may be reading and it starts to look a little tame.
Intermediate players will enjoy playing with their offspring, but this is not a title for them (or expert players) to enjoy alone. They are better catered for by the open world antics (including outfit design) of Animal Crossing: Wild World DS.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: