Nintendo once again invites you to take an excitable dive into the world of fashion, in New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward. When your grandma leaves a tiny key to pass down to you, she promises that it will unlock a wonderful experience that will undoubtedly change your life. Opening a door in a nearby dolls house room, a young girl called Sophie wanders through and waxes lyrical about how your gran had once helped choose beautiful clothes for the people in her town, and how it was much livelier back than then.
It’s a peculiar start for New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward, the player miraculously shrunk so that you can adventure through the secret door with Sophie. Awaiting you on the other side is Beaumonde City, a thriving town in which you can live out your dreams in becoming the manager of a fledgeling boutique. Taking control of Beaumonde’s trendsetting epicentre, the early hours spent running your newfound business act as a gentle introduction – helping customers that swing by in search of new clothes that match their varying tastes.
As integral to the experience as it was in New Style Boutique, it’s simple to start picking out clothes from your wardrobe with customers providing hints as to what they are after – whether that be by type, brand, image, colour or pattern. Each will let you know the budget that they have for their shopping spree, so it’s down to you whether you let them snap up a bargain or style them in more expensive outfits to earn yourself more money.
With more than 19,000 items packed into the game, players will take regular trips to the Exhibition Hall at Taylor Arcade where brand display the latest additions to their clothing, bag and accessory lines that you can purchase to expand your catalogue. Each brand clearly represents a certain style – whether that be AZ-USA’s bold and sassy designs that “cater to the fiercest, coolest girls in town,” the girly Marzipan Sky, or Basic U that specialises in simpler “wardrobe staples.”
This opens chances to nurture business acumen with the player left to manage stock levels, make sure that they continue to cater to each of their customer’s tastes and market the boutique by putting up posters, ultimately driving the business to success. You will need to keep an eye on your phone, checking messages sent by other characters and your schedule.
New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward successfully builds on the game’s predecessor, most notably in opening up new career options that you can freely switch to whenever you wish. If you ever fancy a change from being a boutique owner, you can choose between four other roles as a make-up artist, hair stylist, designer and model.
Whether you consider yourself a dab hand at applying eyeliner, mascara and blusher, continuing that makeover with a new hairstyle from more than 1,300 looks, or want to design your own clothing, these each allow the experience to remain fresh as needed. Model is perhaps the most engaging, seeing the player taking part in fashion shoots that they will then see plastered around Beaumonde after which you will later hit the catwalk.
You’ll receive samples of any clothes that you buy at your Apartment, a place at which you can spend some downtime between the shifts that you work. Here, you can change your character’s appearance – whether that be your clothes or make-up – and compile new outfits in your scrapbook. Such customisation carries across to the boutique, which allows players to remodel the interior and exterior whenever they wish – from mannequins in your window display to the music that plays as customers browse inside.
SpotPass will present a steady stream of new items after launch, while amiibo support lets you unlock stylish rewards in special items that are themed around particular characters – such as Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Kirby, Isabelle and Inkling Girl. New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward keeps you busy in other areas, with Caprice Chalet allowing you to decorate rooms in your own dolls house and StreetPass letting you share any of your creations. Nintendo also promises to run fashion contests on Miiverse, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward presents Nintendo’s most complete take on what it’s like to be involved in the fashion industry. Multi-faceted in approach, the Nintendo 3DS exclusive is the perfect fashion fix and will surely inspire the creativity waiting to be unleashed in all of us.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by Nintendo