Support Josie, click to buy via us...
Style Boutique DS is a light-hearted look at the world of shopping and fashion which is something obsessed over by a large proportion of our media. Brought more to the fore with TV shows like Ugly Betty, Style Boutique on the Nintendo DS follows a similar world of high styling and high prices - all be it in a rather cutesy cartoon way.
This game is aimed at young adults or teens, although the box design gives it a much more grown up feel. Having only one six year old daughter I think Style Boutique would be beyond her capabilities in terms of reading all the text. Apart from this, the game isn't that difficult and with a little help I'm sure she'd enjoy choosing outfits for people to try on. Other go for a less serious and more flexibile approach though, she already enjoys creating her own garish designs in Barbie Fashion show on the DS.
For me it was a bit too simple and one dimensional, so didn't really fulfil any of the needs of this gaming family! I also felt the cartoon style of the women in the game was pretty poor, oversized heads, doe eyes and skinny - of course. Certainly not the image I want my daughter to grow up thinking she needs to emulate - well definitely not the oversized head! I'm doing a bad enough job keeping the wonderful role model of Barbie at bay, never mind a whole new host of waiflike females. Here's an idea - games for older and more body conscious teens should include all shapes and sizes rather than perpetuate the myth of size zero clothes. But Style Boutique mised a trick here, as if it had been presented in a proper grown up way I think it would have appealed more to 'real' women - like me!
Style Boutique itself places you as the new recruit in the stylish boutique 'Primavera', your job is to assist customers and choose what you think they'd like to buy. This is fairly easy at first; the customers are glowing with gratitude as you choose them a new dress or pair of jeans, often stating 'I've never been so happy!' But don't get complacent, your job becomes increasingly challenging as you get to deal with trickier customers.
Once you have reached your sales target you are able to browse a wider selection of clothes and get to visit the Exhibition Hall where you can buy stock for the shop. And so the game goes on, more customers, stock crisis 'oh no we've run out of cardigans!' and so on. You also get rewarded with items for your own wardrobe, so becoming the epitome of style yourself!
The styling of the box and advert had a very glossy and eye catching magazine-feel about it
Whilst playing I was having a bit of a styling crisis of my own, having gone to town on a rare trip without any kids to stock up on some wardrobe basics and ended up coming home with one rather inappropriate a dress, which looked awful, or so my husband told me! There was a brief moment playing this game when I wished it really was that easy to go and choose clothes and find what you are looking for. Most of the time I wander round with no clue of what I need or even able to see anything I like in the shops. The worst thing is finding something you like then walking to school the next day to drop the kids off and seeing another mum in exactly the same thing!
There are lots of these kinds of games around for the Nintendo DS - like the Imagine series aimed at young teens - but this is the first I've seen aimed at older teens and young women. I was surprised when I saw it advertised on TV as it was clearly marketed in a very 'grown up' way. The styling of the box and advert had a very glossy and eye catching magazine-feel about it.
The game treads a fine line between achieving this grown up and a younger teenager feel. To be honest I was surprised when playing it that they decided to gear it towards the adult market, it seemed like a bit of a gamble. While I even found myself still playing an hour or two later, the problematic mixed marketing and play style means that neither I nor my daughter really stuck with it. Perhaps we could play it together, time will tell.
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: