Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Lex Firth 23.11.2017 1

Review for Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star on Nintendo 3DS

In its revolution to make gaming more accessible in the late '00s, the Nintendo DS' universal popularity had one major result: the advent of countless games aimed at audiences that weren't particularly considered to be "core gamers." Publishers realised quickly that there was an untapped market here - namely, young girls, who weren't previously the focus of videogame marketing - and rushed to fill the gap, meaning a dredge of casual games was on the horizon for the system, not at all limited to such "typical" hobbies as babysitting, keeping animals, and, of course, fashion design. Obviously, the rate at which these games were released often came at the expense of quality, and it took Nintendo in 2009 to buck the trend with its own Style Boutique, proving that it was possible to capture such an audience without sacrificing polish and charm. Fast forward eight years, and the game has evolved into a franchise of its own - but does the fourth entry, Nintendo presents New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star, feel as refreshing as the first?

It's clear as soon as the game boots up exactly who its target audience is, with a cheesy pop song accompanied by vibrant animations of a female pop star in a cute outfit setting the scene for the game to come. This is followed up by a surprisingly deep character customisation screen - there's only a female character on offer here, but there are a number of options for her design, and after a short amount of dialogue, it's straight into the action.

Screenshot for Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star on Nintendo 3DS

New Style Boutique 3's core gameplay doesn't differ from its predecessors - the player is given a request from an NPC to design an outfit according to specific criteria, such as a "feminine pink skirt," or a "gothic jacket." There's a fair amount of leeway and freedom here - these specific criteria never lead to just one outcome, especially with such a large number of clothes and the brands to accompany them on offer here. Most of the fun, of course, isn't just in making an outfit that satisfies the computer's algorithm - some particularly heinous combinations are considered acceptable as long as they fit the baseline request - but in making one that looks good to the player.

There are no major repercussions for failing to meet a customer's request, although progress in the main story may be slowed down a little, meaning that the extent to which Styling Star feels rewarding depends on the player's own investment in their creations. The ability to take in-game screenshots and share them with the Nintendo 3DS Image Share service is a nice feature that incorporates a more social aspect to the normally single-player-restricted action, although its clunky interface does also demonstrate how archaic the 3DS' hardware feels in 2017.

Screenshot for Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star on Nintendo 3DS

To label New Style Boutique 3 just as a dress-up game would be doing it a disservice, though; there's a much deeper game behind the surface. The main plot revolves around the main character being placed in charge of their uncle's old fashion boutique, and as a result, there's a surprising amount of business-brain required behind the scenes. Stocks have to be managed correctly, and new clothes have to be bought from the nearby Exhibition Hall to be sold at the boutique; it's difficult to know exactly what clothes will be in demand in the near future, making large purchases into a genuinely quite exciting game of risk.

This instalment does bring in a particularly clever quality-of-life upgrade, however, that allows the player to check if a customer's requested outfit is in stock before agreeing to the sale - and, if it's not, giving them the ability to rush off to the Exhibition Hall to quickly stock up without losing the customer entirely. There are other features on offer here, too, including the aforementioned music performances, but they are limited in scope and don't feel as fully realised as the main gameplay - New Style Boutique is at its best when it focuses on its original forte.

Screenshot for Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star on Nintendo 3DS

When it does maintain its focus, however, Styling Star is a polished, addictive romp. There's a more than satisfying amount of clothing to pick from, in countless styles and types, although some doesn't feel all that useful - headphones feel like a bizarre choice, while the inclusion of bracelets and wristwatches feel less than useful as it's difficult to actually zoom in on them when looking at the outfit as a whole - although they are handy when trying to pad out the total bill for a particularly wealthy customer.

Graphically, meanwhile, everything is very clear. The writing is great, and the models are animated fairly well, although one minor gripe is in the lack of diversity; there's a great variety in the skin tones of the models and customers in the game, although they all seem to share one body type. It would be interesting to see the series follow the recent trends of the real-life fashion industry and appreciate different body types, such as plus-size models, especially in a game so clearly aimed at girls of a particularly impressionable age.

Screenshot for Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It may not look it, but New Style Boutique 3 is a genuinely deep, addictive game that balances well-crafted gameplay with a meaty amount of content. More traditional gamers may not be interested at first, but the simple exterior hides an experience that's just as enticing as any of Nintendo's other first-party efforts. The various attempts at extra modes may not pack in the wow-factor - the new nail art feature, for instance, is pleasant, if dull - but at its core, there's a lot to love, target audience or not.

Also known as

Style Savvy: Styling Star

Developer

syn Sophia

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Great to see this being developed so well. It's a shame sales seem to have dropped off over the years, even in Japan. Hopefully this one does well enough for a Switch version to be considered.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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