I’m no styling expert; in fact, I’m likely the last person you should go to when it comes to what clothing is “in” right now or even something as simple as colour coordination. How on Earth can a game like New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star be for me then you might ask? Fashion or not there’s a lot to love even for someone as clueless on the subject such as myself.
Things kick off with your self-created character moving into a new town and taking over their cousin’s clothing store while he goes off travelling around the world. What then follows is your journey to not only make your boutique a success but to also branch out into other areas such as hair, make-up and nails.
Though initial impressions may not hint at something rather complex, New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star actually has a surprising amount going on under the hood that designers, as well as management fans, should enjoy.
The core idea behind New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star revolves around customers entering your store, throwing a random, irrelevant tidbit about themselves your way like their clumsiness or simply a love for hot chillies and then you trying to find the best suiting outfit or item for them based on their suggestions. The way in which you go about this varies depending on how easy or difficult you want to make things for yourself.
For example, you may have someone visit who has a soft spot for items of clothing in the baby doll style. If like me you’re venturing into uncharted territory then the search function proves invaluable allowing you to narrow your options down not only to the image needed but even the type of clothing. For a newcomer or just someone who can’t tell a rock outfit from a bold one, it removes the guesswork. Of course, if you want to try and choose for yourself then you can ignore the search button altogether.
The search function is a great way to ease you into the world of fashion, getting you accustomed to its styles, colours and types. And after dealing with numerous customers I would eventually find myself relying less and less on this aid, making decisions of my own. Sure they may not be 100 percent successful but at least it made me feel like I was adding something more substantial to the whole process. When you are successful though, it feels much more satisfying. Whatever your method, everything feels relatively easy to navigate thanks to the game’s clear menus. Things can get a little busy, the more items you unlock (I’m seeing what must be thousands with no signs of slowly down) but it’s nothing that makes cycling through a pain.
Of course, you’ll need to manage your stock levels in order to actually make any sales and that’s where the Exhibition Hall comes in handy. It’s here where you can purchase all the latest releases while reorders and returns are possible from your store and phone should you need something done in a hurry. As you progress through the game you’ll be given the option to move into male clothing – a task that means you’ll need to stock clothing for both genders. It can add another layer of organization to your purchases but again is totally optional for those that want to avoid it.
When you want to take a break from your store, you’ll eventually be able to style hair, makeup and nails. Similarly to selling clothes, here, you’ll be choosing styles based on suggestions made by the customer. For example, a violinist who has a big performance coming up requests something forward facing, with no fringe in red for her new hair. Flicking through the options you then try to find the right match for them. Nails are the weaker link here limiting your freedom by simply offering you a selection of preset designs.
Completing any activities in New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star will earn you experience toward raising your Stylist Rank. Leveling up will not only unlock new pieces of clothing for you to purchase but also new features such as locations and features including the ability to design your own clothing.
And speaking of clothing design, I found this to be much more enjoyable than expected. Giving you just enough freedom to make you feel you’re crafting your own unique looking item of clothing but not too much so as to make it seem like too much of a time sink, I wound up producing a number of (what I felt to be stylish) creations – shoes with a pixelated Mario on the side being a personal highlight.
I really enjoyed talking to my customers outside my shop just as much as making money off them. What they have to say may often be random and silly but it’s always entertaining. One particular standout for me was styling a woman’s hair in a bright and bubbly way in order to keep her spirits high after losing her dog. Would you know it, after successfully giving her the right look, she received a text to let her know her dog was found safe. Furthermore keeping in touch with the locals is important to build up your relationship with them eventually allowing you to message them to come to the store whenever you like. Here it really pays to have a lot of friends.
NIN10 meanwhile plays a key role in the story, an agency for aspiring idols whose clients come to you for styling tips. Manage to make them happy and you’ll be treated to a video of their performance, a quirky reward for a job well done.
New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star is a prime example of how you should never judge a book (or in this case video game) by its cover. While it’s easy to pass this off as just another casual title aimed at the non-gamers of the world, give it a chance and you’ll uncover a surprisingly deep and charming experience that proves the Nintendo 3DS is still not done when it comes to putting out quality content just yet.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by Nintendo