Fashion Apprentice Game Review by Xauri’El Zwaan
Game Rating: 3/5 Balls
Fashion Apprentice is a seek-and-find game, where the player must click a variety of objects scattered and hidden in a cluttered environment. Not to my taste, but I’ll give the game its due; it goes out of its way to provide a variety of challenges to the player. The list of objects to find is sometimes presented as names, sometimes as silhouettes, and sometimes as a broad category, eg. search the kitchen for ‘food’. There are obstacles such as doors that must be opened or carts that must be moved to find certain objects, distracting fans and lights, spotlight levels, and mini-games like spot-the-difference levels and rhythm games where objects must be touched in the correct order and with the correct timing. You can also pick up secret items such as candy, which refills your hint bar faster. As seek-and-finds go it’s quite well designed.
The plot of the game follows a girl as she rises in the competitive world of high fashion. Each level is an assignment which advances the plot. Between levels, you can spend your earned ‘glamour points’ on designer dresses, hats, handbags, jewellery, and cellphones, then dress your character up like a paper doll; ‘better’ outfits fill up a ‘glamour meter’ which can give you scoring bonuses. In fact, this entire game seems designed to be a ‘girl game’, to appeal to some market-research derived ‘female’ demographic or game company executive’s preconception of what a woman gamer would be interested in; and frankly I find that a bit offensive and annoyingly sexist. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t mind playing a fashion-designer game, if it had something to do with actual fashion design. Dressing a glorified seek-and-find up in a bunch of lame glitz and drawing floral curlicues all over the loading screen is not going to attract girl gamers. And while we’re on the subject, I also find it offensive that the major object of the game is to accumulate material crap; not to mention the implicit idea that being more expensive makes something objectively ‘better’.
The graphics are another major problem with this game. They’re drawn in a stylized art-deco gloss which makes objects difficult to distinguish from each other The colours are bright, solid pastels, predominantly pinks and oranges, which clash violently and make the screens actively difficult to look at. Giving your players a headache is not a good thing for any game, especially one where they’re expected to stare at a static screen for extended periods searching for hidden objects. The soundtrack is a kind of bland, repetitive muzak, probably meant to be characteristic of runway fashion shows, which only adds to the annoyance factor. Bottom line, this game could have earned itself a 4 by sticking to being a good seek-and-find instead of layering on a bunch of marketing-based hoohaw. What girl gamers want is good games. I would not spend my money on a game like this even if it was a genre I enjoyed playing.