3DS Nintendo

New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star Review

There’s a new girl in town and she’s kicking up a real fashion storm in New Style Boutique 3. With 20,000 items to get your manicured mitts on and some delightful pop tunes in the background, it’s sure to be a hit with budding queens of fashion. But as trends come and go, the game’s choices also wear thin with repetitive goals, time-wasting features and unnecessary storyline fillers.

As the fourth instalment in the Style Savvy series and developed by syn Sophia, New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star does exactly what it sets out to do. While I’m not well versed in fashion simulation games nowadays, I’ve certainly scoured the internet in search of fashion games in the past. Back in the days of MSN, Furbies, Saved by the Bell and Miniclip, fashion games were very few and far between. Chances are if I’d been handed New Style Boutique 3 when I was 12 or younger, there would be a very lively, doe-eyed young girl playing on her 3DS.

Make no mistake, New Style Boutique 3 is a fashion lovers’ dream. In the 20+ hour storyline, fans of the fashion sim genre will set up and manage their own boutique, become the personal stylist of budding pop stars such as Rosie, Alina and Yolanda, and design their own threads to display in the Design Centre for other players to purchase and use. With up to 20,000 items available within 13 different fashion trends and 18 brand stores to purchase from, there’s so much choice on offer that you’ll be constantly restocking from the Exhibition Hall on every in-game day.

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Unfortunately, that’s where the game falls flat; worse than J-Law at the Oscars or Gemma Collins’s recent embarrassment at Radio 1’s Teen Awards. The Exhibition Hall is the only place to purchase new threads for your boutique and coincidentally you’ll need to visit it every day if you want to keep your customers happy. That means investing more time into buying new items than serving your customers. For example, your customer wants a red skirt and your boutique isn’t holding any. Choose the option to let your customer wait while you stock up at the Exhibition Hall and track down every red skirt the place holds. Of course, you’ll have to visit each individual store which holds rock, gothic, basic and lively styles depending on which would suit your customer’s style the best. It’s a huge time-waster when you’ve got to do the same trek up to several times inside half an hour.

It’s not just time you waste either, but money earned. At first you’ll be serving a paltry three customers per day. But by the time you unlock all 18 brand stores, you’ll be serving many more. In the early stages of the game, your clothing choices matter as you’ll have less money to spend on new items. You have to think in fashion-forward, business-like terms. Strangely, it’s an incredibly adult concept for a game with such a young target audience. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this fashion crisis. The restock market unlocks around 10 hours into the game, where you can buy previously purchased items from an in-game phone app, making your hunt for old threads that much easier.

Sadly, the Exhibition Hall remains the only place you can buy new stock and, as the clothes on offer change every day, you’ll get very little use from the restock market. In fact, when your flush with cash, it’s much quicker to flick through every item page, select the brand rep’s choice and add everything to your cart, rather than aching over every penny. Frankly, it’s game design that’s gone askew.

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Aside from earning money to purchase new items, New Style Boutique 3 also gives players the chance to level up their Stylist Rank. Each time you successfully serve a customer, whether that’s through your boutique, the hair salon or the beautician, you’ll earn stylist points. Increasing your Stylist Rank is the quickest way to unlock new brand stores or new phone apps and to progress the game’s storyline. While there’s more than 30 levels to climb, you’ll unlock most of the game’s features inside the first 30 Stylist Ranks, including the Design Centre and Shopdo which serve as the title’s online modes.

New Style Boutique 3 takes the catwalk by storm in one area; item menu selection. It’s quite possibly the least glamorous feature, but it’s designed to save you bags of time. When selecting outfits for customers or trying to find that elusive red skirt in amongst 1,000 items in stock, the menu selection is the equivalent of eating your weight in chocolate while not physically gaining any. Players can refine their stock by type, brand, image, colour, pattern and price. So if your customer is looking for a red dotty lively mini-skirt under £20, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll find it if it’s in stock. It’s pure magic. And if you’re running low on cash? Dress your shop window mannequin in one trend and score big bucks from passersby. Some might say it’s easy on the eyes.

Of course, it’s not just the hard-earned cash that keeps fashion lovers swooning over New Style Boutique 3, but the storyline too. While it’s a bit twee for adults, youngsters will revel in the drama that mirrors the animations of Ace Attorney games. Between the crazy arm movements and character oddities, there’s three main characters that take centre stage. Take in the personal stories of Rosie, Yolana and Alina and help them on their way to superstardom at the local talent agency NIN10 Pro. At the very least, the upbeat poppy music and the pun-worthy script keeps it light-hearted and entertaining.

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Despite all the good intentions, New Style Boutique 3 has its grievances. Watch out for repetitive customers coming in with the same wants and needs, unnecessary storyline fillers that force you to make a detour to the hair salon or beautician without paying you any freelance fees, lengthy loading screens that fetch customers in before your assistant, and a paltry choose-your-own-design feature that’s fit for the bin. And let’s not forget the bigger issue at play here with the Exhibition Hall. New Style Boutique 3 has redeeming features to easily cover up the heavily repetitive and monotonous sideshow, but it’s not nearly enough.

There’s still a glimmer of hope around though. New Style Boutique 3 has good pacing to keep any fashion queen – of any sex – playing for hours. With its upbeat and peppy music, easy-to-read storyline and great search and find mechanic for any outfit, it’s fun for a time. Budding fashion stars can also download the game’s demo via the Nintendo eShop by scanning the QR code below with the 3DS camera. In reality though, it’s a shame the game doesn’t live up to its glamorous expectations. It’s no fashion faux pas, but it’s not ready for the Big Four either.

7/10

Scan the QR code below with your Nintendo 3DS camera to unlock a neat demo of the game.

 

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12 comments

  1. I love the Style Savvy games and I think they’re actually great SIM games. They get totally overlooked cause “haha fashion game, girl game, shovelware” but this game isn’t shovelware. There is so much management, customization, animal crossing-style character charm, and features. Work really gets put into them and I hope one day the franchise catches up more in the west, Monster Hunter Style but I know I’m being optimistic considering it’s subject matter hah.

    I feel like Style Savvy Fashion Forward is the best of the series and after playing the demo to this new game I don’t know if the music story lines will be enough of a mix up. It felt incredibly similar overall. Fashion Forward had a lot to unlock though and things to acquire, tho. I’ll have to see how it matches up.

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  2. I remember back when the first game came out for DS. I thought it would be something like what you described here. Makes me wonder about the progression of the series.

    Poor you… dreaming of Phoenix Wright while playing this :P I played a case from Trial and Tribulations yesterday actually.

    I probably hadn’t checked out this review if it wasn’t for the fact you were behind it, but your excellent writing and sense of details made it all worth it :3 Fabulous as always, C!
    (I’ve seen what you’ve been playing for one of your next reviews. I’m seriously looking forward to it!)

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  3. Wow, I never expected Style Savvy’s dialogue to be compared with Ace Attorney’s! LOL So you’d like more places to shop for clothes other than the Exhibition Hall? I’m curious as to how that would look. A separate shop for each brand? Isn’t it easier to have all the brands in one place? It sounded like making the customer wait while you went to the Exhibition Hall for a specific item was tedious but this feature was added b/c in past games, if you did not have the item, you were forced to end the interaction or have them try on something they will reject afterwards and therefore lose the sale regardless. This feature, at least, allows for you to make the sale. You can always end the interaction if you find it tedious. Part of the fun is stocking up and choosing in-demand items. It makes it so you maintain a broad array of clothing at your shop rather than just the same things all the time. And I love your line: “…any fashion queen – of any sex…” Kudos!

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    1. Ya this change sounds good to me also considering that in previous games you’d lose a sale without the item. However it might also take away the urgency to more skillfully manage by knowing trends, being aware of stock variation, and knowledgeable about the brands can be mixed, to ensure you never disappoint otherwise embarrass yourself by displeasing your customer. Now that you can just stop mid sale to shop for what you don’t have, kind of messes with that

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    2. I think the Exhibition Hall would be better if there wasn’t any loading screens, dialogue between brand representatives and it was just a catalogue where you could purchase the various different brands from within your shop or apartment. It just seems oddly unnecessary. But from what you’ve described from the previous games, it looks like they have greatly improved! I’m sure you’ll prefer this feature in comparison to first-timers like myself. Thank you for reading and your lovely comment. :)

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    1. Unfortunately not, no. I tried to critically evaluate what was already there in the game and what I thought worked or didn’t work. :) I never fully evaluate a game based on past ones, though it may factor in on the final judgement, I always try to review what’s there initially as It’s a fairer and non-biased way to critically evaluate the base game.

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