Sunday, December 30, 2012

Style Savvy: Trendsetters (3DS)

OK, I'm obviously not the target audience for Style Savvy: Trendsetters, Nintendo's fashionista simulation for its current flagship handheld.

Aside from the title, that I'm not the target demographic is obvious -- not the least of which is my character constantly being referred to as "she", "her", and nothing but feminine pronouns and modifiers. It's also obvious in my lack of vocabulary for fashion stylings like "pop", or "feminine" stylings it would be easy for me to previously reduce to "styles females wear".

But Style Savvy is deeper than all that. It puts me in the role of a part-time assistant at a fashion boutique with a gift for collating ensembles for the shop's entrenched and want-to-be trendistas (copyright Adam Creighton). The game walks me through the terminology and logic of matching clothes to personalities, builds my client base as a value-add to my employing boutique, gradually opens up parts of the town for me to explore (café, supplier store, and so on), and has the requisite "my apartment" to decorate, re-arrange, change my own fashions, catch up on the day's events, and plan for the next).

And while the game helped me get in touch with my own inner tween girl (which only felt slightly less creepy than it probably sounds, if I'm being honest), I'm curious as to who target the audience for this game really is.

I think trend-savvy teen girls probably will find the game a bit young to hold their attention, and I think younger girls who will find the gameplay engaging are pre-conceit gamers for this title. And, arguably, building a style-collecting, must-match mentality of thousand-dollar-plus budgets is arguably not the best way on which to spend development fixation habits (I'd argue "the "Gotta Catch 'Em All" of Pokémon is fictionally abstracted enough (and actually has positive developmental effects), though some would argue that).

As far as the 3D implementation, I have by no means plumbed the depth of the game at this point, but I really don't see a need for 3D in this game. More than some games, this title requires a particular positioning of the head (relative horizontal and distance) that becomes distracting even with minor shifts in either axis. And since the game is stylus-only, it could just as easily be a tap-only mobile title.

But none of that is to take away from what I consider a solid, well-implemented, fairly deep genre title. Knowing what it is, I think folks can enjoy it independent of their demographic, and for me as a game developer, the title (because of it's non-matching target audience-to-conceit) actually made it easier for me to see the base mechanics underneath the genre, and how simply and well those are implemented.

It's a tough title to recommend, because it's so genre-specific, but knowing all that, I'd choose to play it.

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