So here I am again with a girly game in the vein of the Imagine games. There was also this one (though at least that one came with DVDs of the movies in the games). That’s not to say I automatically shun anything girly – I did at least enjoy this, heavily girly veneer and premise and all. It’s more that these sorts of games tend to be designed in a way that aims toward the “girl” part of the experience over the “game” part. That being said, let’s get into Girls’ Fashion Shoot and see if it can overcome its “girl” focus in favor of being a good experience.
In Girls’ Fashion Shoot, you’re a model starting out, trying to rise higher in the popularity rankings. There’s not much story beyond that – you just do jobs to earn money and popularity. To be fair, it’s not likely the target audience for this game would be playing it for a deep and riveting narrative anyway. Other models will befriend you and invite you to outings, but those don’t affect anything except for adding another picture to your scrapbook. The game asks you a series of introductory questions, like name, birthday, lucky number, favorite image, and favorite style. Lolita, Marine, Pop, BCBG, and Bohemian are among the options in the last category. I had no idea what BCBG was, and Google tells me it’s an abbreviation for the French phrases “bon chic, bon genre” or “beau cadre, bon goût” (you learn something every day, it seems). I know Bohemianism exists beyond these things, but when I hear Bohemian, I tend to think either of “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “La Vie Bohème from Rent,” but I digress.
As would be expected of this sort of game, the overall color scheme is bright, with copious splashes of pink in the interfaces. If you’re playing this game, I sure hope you like pink, because it’s everywhere. The character models are decent, and you can customize your eye color and hair. While there are a lot of palette swaps in terms of clothes, there is also a wide range of variety in clothing for different styles, so the game has that much going for it. There’s a dress with “Love Fancy Cream” printed on the chest, which… can seem questionable depending on how you interpret that, but that would probably go over the heads of the intended audience. When a character model turns quickly (usually if you’re quickly cycling through poses), it sometimes looks kind of flat, which looks a bit strange. The music is peppy but generic, and the various tracks sort of blend in with each other after a while. They’re not horrible, but also not particularly memorable.
The controls aren’t too hard to figure out or work with. The D-pad pans the camera, the A button removes the outfit and Y resets the camera in the closet section, B zooms out, X zooms in, and the L and R buttons rotate your character. Some things can only be done with the stylus, so it’s easier to just stick to the stylus for everything rather than switching back and forth between stylus and buttons. Stylus detection can be off when positioning deco-parts, as it’s positioned differently on the bottom screen than the top screen. It can also can be fiddly when trying to position and move multiple decorations that are near each other, with a different one from the one you were intending on moving being picked, especially when you’ve just put a new one in. In general, though, the game controls okay and you can generally do what you intended.
The general flow of the game entails doing jobs to earn money and increase your popularity ranking. Earning money lets you earn new poses to use in photo shoots, buy makeup and clothes, and do your nails and hair. Jobs involve putting together an outfit according to a theme, picking out a pose and expression for the photo shoot, then picking out one of the pictures to use on the magazine cover. If you forget to put on something while dressing up you character, the game will remind you and boot you back to the dressing screen (with the missing item in quotes for whatever reason, for example Please put on some “shoes”). You can search for keywords (only ones that are listed, you can’t type in your own), which makes it a bit easier to sift through your wardrobe for things that fit the theme of the job, since there are a lot of items. When designing the cover, you can put auras of different sizes, colors, and patterns on your model, change the color of the title text, pick a background, and put in a deco-frame and deco-parts (things like hearts and such). In addition to jobs you take at RS Magazine, you can also take small jobs. However, you can only take them at the beginning of the month before you take a big job, you earn less money, and you move right to the next month, which means missing out on the regular jobs for that month. You can also do other auditions. However, unlike the regular jobs, they don’t provide you with anything, so you have to supply your own items and have your photos taken.
It’s pretty easy to finish jobs, and even if you completely ignore the theme you can still proceed, but you won’t get the bonus pay you do for adhering to the theme. Your boss will even tell you how close you are to meeting the job’s criteria and give you a chance to either go back and revise it or submit it, which makes it even easier to do well on jobs. However, there was one job with the criterion “wear a yukata outfit”. However, I did not see anything in the clothing store or in any of the clothes you can pick from while working on a job that resembled a yukata. Since there is no option to type in your own search terms, I couldn’t even search for it. I ended up just fulfilling the other criteria of the job and taking the lack of bonus pay. I know what a yukata is, and most people who didn’t know what it was could look it up, but a child playing this might not necessarily know and might get stuck. There’s also the oddity in that, when you only have one job left to do, the in-game text says, “There are 1 jobs left this month” instead of “There is 1 job left this month”. While you can at least understand the intended message behind, it just looks odd and sloppy.
While the game is functional and would at least appeal to its target demographic, it gets monotonous over longer play sessions. You don’t do much else besides do jobs to earn money and rise higher on the popularity list. During jobs, you basically scroll through mostly the same clothes looking for ones that contain the key words for the theme requested. There’s only one save. When you opt to start a new game after you’ve started a file, you can choose to carry over items and poses or delete everything and start anew. There’s really not much replay value other than maybe having a different name and such, but there’s no different choices you can take, you just keep doing jobs to earn money and rank higher in the top 10 RS model list. You’re just railroaded from one thing to the next. You also don’t have any control over when you befriend another model or what you do with them – they basically go, “Hey, let’s hang out and be friends!” and just like that you are, accompanied by a picture of the two of you hanging out. You can swap profiles with other people via Streetpass, but I never picked up any profiles from other people playing this game, so I can’t comment further on this.
Short Attention Span Summary:
Girls’ Fashion Shoot plays pretty much as you’d expect given the title and screenshots. There are at least a lot of clothes and accessories to work with if you’re into putting together outfits and poses and finding lots of combinations thereof. However, it does get repetitive over longer play sessions, and you can still get by even if you decide to ignore all the requirements of a given job. The intended audience may derive more enjoyment out of this, however.