Ubisoft's Imagine: Fashion Designer for the Nintendo DS is a game mostly targeted towards pre-teen girls with a taste for design and fashion. But don't let the title fool you, creative minds need not apply.
Picking up this little game, I was expecting a fun time, playing around with virtual clothes and hair styles. While Imagine: Fashion Designer does offer that much, the presentation and game play prevent any kind of enjoyment.
The game essentially consists of a series of tasks requiring the player to reproduce the demands of photographers or designers. Read More...
Players are asked to create clothing, make-up, jewelery and hair designs for fashion shows or shoots. While some demands are pretty straight forward, like creating a specific hairstyle or jewelery design, others are unclear, lack details and require several attempts.
For example, it took me over 15 tries before I could create the make-up for a traditional Japanese photo shoot. Tweak after tweak, my score still said "make-up poorly executed." I finally lucked out and figured I needed to paint my model's face white. I wish this was the only instance where such pickiness occurred, but it was only the first.
Another example comes to mind, when asked to create a military-style outfit. The clothing designer workshop allows for different cuts and patterns to be used, and after creating a typical camouflage outfit, I was told again that it was poorly executed. Almost ready to pull my hair out, two shirts and four pairs of pants later, I finally hit the mark. Where is the imagination, when a game demands such strict conformity?
The 2D graphics look nice, colourful and well designed, but the bulk of the game is presented in 3D graphics which, though average for the Nintendo DS, really don't do justice to the game play. Low quality textures are hard to differentiate and complicate matters when it comes down to chosing one pattern over another. As you progress, new accessories and designs get unlocked, but their graphical rendition is so poor, they essentially look the same, favoring quantity over quality.
Aside from designing, players will also have to hit the runway and model their creations, in levels based on hand-eye coordination. Hit the targets on time to make your model walk, recognized an image among others and reproduce patterns on the touch screen to make her pose. This mini-game offers a nice change of pace, from the frustration of design, but quickly gets stale as the levels remain essentially the same from show to show.
Occasionally, players will also get to be the photographer for a fashion shoot. Each time, you are asked to follow guidelines to pass the level. While this mini-game is fairly easy, it left me wishing there was more to this mode, perhaps some kind of score keeping. As it is, it felt rather pointless.
The sound design is effective and one of the high points of the game. The background music varies from lounge to dance, and blends in well with the game. Although it is looped, it avoids becoming annoying.
Imagine: Fashion Designer is a tedious game, which leaves almost no room for creativity. If you are considering getting this DS game for your child, niece or little sister, better save your dollars and their time and opt for another title.
+ Decent music
- Little room for creativity
- Trial and error gameplay
- Bland graphics
Game Forward score: 2/5
Nathalie Caron > Game Forward
Imagine Fashion Designer (NDS) Quick Facts:
Release Date: Oct. 27, 2007
Price: $19.99 US/CAN
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)