Imagine Fashion Designer review part 2
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Finally there are the fashion shows, where you get to walk your models down the catwalk sporting your cutting edge designs. These are presented as a kind of rhythm action game. First you tap the feet icons as indicated, to show the model how to step. Then you must tap the star shaped icons in time to the music. Once you reach the end of the catwalk, you need to strike a pose. A pose icon is displayed briefly, then hidden in amongst half a dozen or more other pose icons. You must pick out the correct icon quickly so that your model poses elegantly. Occasionally your instructed to copy some stylus tracings instead, this proved to be rather more tricky.
The fashion show part of the game is more difficult than I would have expected for a children's game. Younger children might be frustrated with it to the point of tears. Although if you fail you can go back and try again immediately.
When you're bored with completing tasks for clients, you can do any of the workshops on their own, just for fun, or to practice (provided they have been unlocked by completing at least one contract using them). You can even beam your favourite photographs to your fashion designer friends via the Nintendo DS's local wifi link if they have a copy of the game too.
Out of all the Imagine games I've reviewed, I know less about the world of fashion than any of the other subjects covered in these games, so I decided to ask an expert. Nine year old Caitlin very kindly agreed to play the game for me and tell me what she thought. Overall she was very impressed, she found the fashion workshops to be a lot of fun and even got on better with the touch-screen on the clothes designing section than I did. Parts of the game even encouraged her to learn about fashion and culture, such as the assignment that has you make up one of your models in a traditional Japanese style. Caitlin does well with reading at school but she still struggled to understand some of the text in the game and I really wasn't expecting to have to explain what lingerie was. This is as 'adult' as the game gets but it might upset some very conservative parents. One thing that did confuse her at first was being sent back to the start of a contract when one assignment failed. In actual fact although you are sent back to the start, there is no need to do every part all over again. The game remembers your settings and you can simply skip to the part you need to do again.
There's no score or money or achievement points awarded for completing a contract, you simply move on to the next one, although you frequently unlock new clothes and fashion accessories. The lack of scores or grades didn't seem to bother Caitlin at all, perhaps chasing higher scores or grades in a game is a 'guy' thing. What mark out of ten would our young want-to-be fashion designer give the game? She'd give it a whopping 8, which is pretty good in anyone's books.
To surmise then, in spite of a few niggles, there's actually a lot to like about Imagine Fashion Designer. Graphically the game might not be the best it could have been, but it manages to present the source material in a way that appeals to the target audience and doesn't 'dumb down' or cut corners just because it is a game designed for little girls. Some of the contracts you receive can be overly awkward to fulfil as your client will keep rejecting your designs, but we managed to please even the picky contractors eventually. If you like fashion and you like DS games, you'll find lots to enjoy in this package. By far the best of the Imagine games we have seen so far.
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