Capsule Review: Style Savvy: Styling Star

A game that has you running a boutique selling clothes and accessories and incidentally helping a few young women become pop idols. With low-stakes gameplay in a safe and friendly world, it’s mostly a warm and relaxing game, but interruptive management sim elements and slow progression make it more tedious and repetitive than it needs to be.

The gameplay’s core is serving your boutique’s customers. They usually start with small requests - a cute top or shoes that match their dress - and as you earn their trust by picking out items they like, they’ll make larger requests and ask you to put together entire outfits, which they can then be seen wearing. While it is possible to fail a customer’s request by offering something they don’t like, this just means they’ll come back later and try again. Your own boutique serves only women, but there’s also a men’s fashion store where you can pick out outfits for male characters.

Every customer has a name, but their depth varies considerably - some just have a series of apparently procedurally-generated requests and others have actual story arcs (such as asking for an outfit to wear to a job interview, then one to wear to the office, then another to wear while going out for drinks with coworkers). The most well-developed are the few upcoming pop idols that the game revolves around - you get to dress them for their performances, which you then get to watch as well, and the style of music they perform will depend on the style of outfit you create for them.

On top of this are some other townspeople to get to know and a handful of other activities - customizing the look of your boutique and bedroom, doing hair and makeup at the salon, designing your own clothing items, and setting up photoshoots. You also need to keep your boutique stocked by frequently buying new items directly from the available brands.

Personally, I found it relaxing and satisfying to put outfits together and see characters' stories, but was much less interested in the business management sim elements. I disliked having to frequently buy stock in anticipation of possible customer requests and wish there’d been an option to tell my assistant to just go buy a variety of items. Relatedly, I didn’t like that the need to make lots of profit to afford to maintain a widely-varied stock left me feeling pressured to upsell as much as possible. I found myself suggesting expensive clothing and adding accessories and jewelry whether it improved the outfit or not, trying to get as close as possible to the upper limit of a customer’s budget. I’m sure some players enjoy these management aspects, but to me they felt out of place and in conflict with the game’s friendly tone.

There are also a few elements that make the gameplay feel more repetitive than necessary. Every customer seems to have the same body type, eliminating a huge potential source of variety. Mechanics are doled out slowly, obliging you to play with an incomplete toolset for the first several hours. And the calendar progresses slowly too, meaning seasonal constraints last a long time - in my 37 hours of play, I didn’t reach the end of winter and I got tired of having to always dress everyone in layers.

I Stopped Playing When: The lack of variety created by the slow progression meant that the tedium of keeping the boutique stocked and profitable eventually overtook the enjoyment of putting outfits together and seeing characters' stories.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.