The cut-throat world of fashion comes to the 3DS.
Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique on 3DS gives players the chance to run their very own fashion clothing store. You take on the role of a boutique assistant in Verano, which is a famous boutique managed by Evie, one of the most famous stylists in town. As the assistant, your duty is to greet customers, give fashion advice, order and manage stock, and make your way up the employment ladder as a successful stylist.
In the beginning of the game, there is a selection of customizations available that allow the player to change the physical attributes of their character, from changing the shape of their face from three available designs, to selecting skin tone, hair colour, and height. In a game that is all about style, this lets the player make their own personal statement right from the beginning.
As an assistant you have full access to your mobile phone and features from within your apartment. This is divided up into different sections.
Your personal album allows you to take up to 100 photos of your customers with the use of the camera. Simply pressing the right shoulder button snaps a shot, which can then be viewed inside the album at a later date. These photos can also be transferred to the SD card.
Fashion 101 gives you a brief overview and helpful definitions of the fashion terms that the player will become acquainted with. It will also highlight a few differences in terminology between the English and American equivalent.
As a stylist, you’ll be greeted with the occasional text message via your mobile phone, where people you’ve become acquainted with get in contact to either meet up or tell you some interesting news. You also have a schedule, in which you can view your plans for one day or the next, giving some insight into what to expect. What’s very helpful is the list of all the customers you’ve served throughout your day to day employment as a style boutique assistant. This gives you information about all the customers you’ve served, how many times they have visited the store, the most expensive items they have purchased and whether they are a returning customer.
Once you’ve viewed your mobile phone and it’s features, it’s time for your first day in the style boutique. You’ll begin by working alongside Harriet, a fellow freelance stylist, who occasionally comes in to work from time to time. Customers come into the store, often giving you some insight into what kind of fashion clothes they have in mind. First time customer, Amelia, has a date tonight but nothing to wear and you have to recommend something she may be interested in within her set budget. Usually clues are given within the conversation to whether she wants something girly to something bold and bright. As the assistant you can click ‘sorry’ or ‘no problem’ speech bubbles and then venture into the rack to choose from the items available.
Later on within the game, your biggest challenge will be getting customers to try on garments without first having a look, and hoping that they like it. If this sounds far too risky, there is always the ‘take a look’ option where the customer can have a peek at the garment before going to the trouble of trying it on. While the majority of the customers enter the store with some idea of what clothing they have in mind, some of them can be very picky, which leads to sighs of disappointment from the customer, and others will simply let you know that they can’t afford your choices. You won’t make everyone happy that enters your store, but it’s great fun experimenting with different style ideas, even if you get it wrong first time round. At the end of the day, it’s about making your clients happy. When you make people happy or perform something satisfying for yourself, you can earn your some happiness which will fill up the happiness meter. Build up enough happiness for a full moon and something special will happen.
As a stylist serving an influx of busy customers, you’ll also have to deal with stock management. You have to get used to purchasing extra stock for your store if you are running low. Once you’ve purchase an item, one goes to the store, and an extra one is added to your apartment as one of the samples that you can wear yourself.
Inside your apartment you can redecorate and customize with various furnishings. You can change the wallpaper or purchase different types of furniture. This is also the place you return to if you are feeling tired and want to turn in for the night by simply tapping the sleep icon. Your stylist will sleep until the next morning or just for a few hours depending on the time of the day. You’ll also have the chance to look inside your wardrobe and rotate your stylist 360 degrees to give you a general overview of what she looks like in her new fashion essentials and even zoom in on the designs for a closer look.
Your time in the game is not only spent serving customers in the store, you can even take a wander into the local exhibition hall. Inside the exhibition hall there are various new brands to look at and you can purchase new outfits if you have the cash. If shopping is taking too much of your time, you can indulge in some coffee at the café, which can fill up your happy meter and you’ll be greeted by cheesy smiling Xavier.
As you progress through the game, making fashion decisions, you’ll have the chance to become manager and run your very own store with the help of Miles the interior designer. Re-modelling your store involves using different layouts and styles for your new shop, and selecting the right type of music to play. You’ll also be given your very own stylist card, which you can edit and exchange with people via StreetPass. These cards allow the player to visit your store and even make a purchase. Get together with up to three friends and set up your own fashion show, or win a fashion competition through the wireless connection. The show can follow all kinds of different themes, so it’s down to you and your friends to come up with some fashion ideas based around the themes. If you’re successful, there will be a nice cash prize and a chance to gain some rare items. There is even an AR mode in which the player can take photos of their models within the real world.
I’ve really enjoyed playing Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique on the 3DS. The game gives you a nice selection of different activities to engage in, from helping customers and giving fashion advice, to designing your very own fashion store. And this can all be done without needing to be some kind of fashion guru. The game doesn’t really offer any deep insight into the fashion industry, but anyone who has the slightest interest in fashion would get a kick out of this title. New Style Boutique is an improvement over the original Style Boutique game on the DS, but still suffers from the same limited market.