Style Savvy: Styling Star review – Fame, fortune, and fashion

Credit: Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo /

If you didn’t know the difference between inners, outers and jackets or all the different types of trousers, get ready to learn in Style Savvy: Styling Star.

Developer: syn Sophia
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: December 25, 2017

When I live stream video games, I lazily lounge about in PJ pants and T-shirts. The folks in Style Savvy: Styling Star would find that abhorrent. For them, fashion is the key to many aspects of life: making a good first impression, building a brand, putting together a career and even resolving disputes between friends. It can make or break any encounter, all because of how it shapes the attitudes of those who wear fashion and those who behold it. In Styling Star, you hold the keys to the fashion kingdom for all your clientele. By unlocking the doors to good style for them, you’ll benefit your friends and the city you all share.

Your character has inherited a high-end fashion boutique in the middle of a small but growing city. With a plucky attitude and an eye for fashion (or so everyone tells you), you begin to build your clientele by recommending clothing items or entire outfits in accordance with their requests. They might be looking for a specific color, brand, or style, and you’ll have to fulfill that for them to make sales. That money can then be spent on more items to stock your boutique or decorations to make it classier. Later, the game adds options to style a customer’s nails, hair and makeup to go with their outfits as well.

style savvy
Credit: Nintendo /

I had way too much fun decking out fledgling pop stars in kiwi green polka dot tops, orange plaid skirts, and huge pink bows…

I encountered one of the game’s cardinal sins almost immediately: there’s no option to play as a male in a game with a customizable, blank-slate character. And in a game about fashion design, omitting the option to be a style-savvy dude just seems rude. Style Savvy: Styling Star includes plenty of fashion-conscious men in its supporting cast, but it also relegates menswear to the back seat and doesn’t present it until later in the game. I know that menswear is one of the series’ newer features and a lady has always been at the helm, but I feel like a 3DS game in the year 2017 (2018, now) could do better.

But perhaps that’s unfair of me, given the incredible array of options to dress up everyone in. The choices are already overwhelming when you first start playing, and the variety only widens the more you play and the more brands you invite to the Expo Hall. Even their offerings change regularly, meaning you’ll have to pay multiple visits to see (and afford) everything. Whether you’re dressing yourself or compiling a new outfit for others based on their specifications, you won’t have to worry about running out of options so much as you’ll worry about emptying your wallet.

style savvy
Credit: Nintendo /

You’ll need all the options you can get your hands on, too, because your customers won’t go easy on you forever. Some will have very specific demands, and while you can always ask them to wait while you stock up, you run the risk of losing their business entirely due to the constantly-running clock or missing out on other customers with fatter wallets. This risk-reward system adds an element of strategy to your purchasing prowess, especially as new vendors arrive. You know you’ll need plenty of Baby Doll style clothes for your customers now that the vendor is here, but do you try to pick things that go together, stock up on a few outfit staples, or empty your pockets to ensure you never turn anyone away?

More from Reviews

These limitations, along with the limitations imposed by customer requests, make outfit design either an enjoyable challenge or a hilarious joke. Customers will generally accept anything you give them as long as it meets their requirements, though they also seem to take into account factors like the current season (during the winter, no one wanted to go out without jackets or long sleeves, for example). This means you can either painstakingly try to make good-looking outfits that meet their needs, or you can give them whatever clashy mess you happen to have on hand and laugh at them as they tell you how much they love it. As good as most of the clothing looks, it definitely does not all go together. I had way too much fun decking out fledgling pop stars in kiwi green polka dot tops, orange plaid skirts, and huge pink bows, only for them to clap their hands and pay me money for my craftsmanship.

style savvy
Credit: Nintendo /

Speaking of pop stars, along with your work to grow as a boutique manager, designer, and all-around fashionista, there’s a plot running alongside it as the city grows into a hub for up and coming musical and video talent. You’ll build relationships with various participants in this growth as you assemble their wardrobes and watch their careers take off, all while encountering occasional amusing social commentary about the music industry and “MewTube.” It’s all lighthearted fun, though.

There’s not a lot of depth in story or personalities to be had here, and the fluff characters can get tiresome. Sometimes, the casual shop visitors will even repeat the same dialogue two lines in a row, or repeat what the person who came in before them said. And that’s probably my biggest complaint about this game. As fun as it was to style different characters, there was a lot of tedium in between the juicier conversations, story beats, or interesting styling challenges. Designing outfits or picking out a top that matched a skirt was one thing. But when an entire day passes with nothing but customers asking for specific items like red socks, lively hats, and literally any pair of shoes, Style Savvy: Styling Star was less of a fashion design game and more a glorified Search function simulator.

More app trigger: 50 Best 3DS Games Right Now

For those who already enjoy style games of this sort, Styling Star mostly makes all the right moves to keep its audience busy. It even includes online sharing for designs that is turned off by default but can be restored with a quick change to the Parental Controls. Both that aspect and its helpful Fashion Guide prove boons for the younger audience likely to be attracted by this game, though I found myself flipping through the Fashion Guide too on occasion. Even though Style Savvy: Styling Star targets a specific niche of gamers and likely won’t appeal to a wider, general audience, I enjoyed the introduction to the world of fashion and cheery commentary it provided.

. Style Savvy: Styling Star. 7. You definitely don’t need fashion sense to enjoy <em>Style Savvy: Styling Star.</em> Repetitive dialogue and humdrum filler gameplay will put off anyone who doesn’t already enjoy dressing up characters. But those who appreciate fashion for its power to transform encounters will have a ball with the goofy banter and seemingly infinite design and outfit possibilities.. syn Sophia

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.