Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style
If you don't have an Android phone or an iPhone or even a tablet of some sort these days with at least one game loaded onto it, you're in a bit of a minority -- even my mom likes to sit in her recliner with "Say Yes to the Dress" on the television in the background while she plays a rather brutal-looking motorcycle racing game on her iPad. I'm no exception, so when one of my favorite mobile developers, Kairosoft, released a new fashion-focused game, it was so in my uber-fashionable wheelhouse that I couldn't help but share it.
Kairosoft games are easy to pick out of a crowd, and incredibly addictive. They've made games about managing malls, villages, spas, restaurants... But Clothier Story, a game about an up-and-coming boutique for the Android and for the iOS, might be the perfect gateway drug to get my fellow virtual fashionistas into the wonderful world of Kairosoft games. Here's why:
Clothier Story has all of the usual trappings of this kind of casual game. You have to buy the best blocks, place them in the most effective way, use power-ups, buy expansions, collect medals to expand your line, and hire suspiciously named characters to maintain it all for you. Honestly if that was all there was to this game I wouldn't be interested, but Kairosoft tends to add interesting twists to each game, and Clothier Story is no exception.
The best example are the challenges that come up every so often in the game, where a customer will ask you to help them pick out the perfect outfit for a certain occasion like a job interview from your available stock. You need to meet or surpass indicators in the style categories for a better chance at success. For example, a kindergarten teacher will want to be casual and comfortable, but a fashion model will want to be extremely glammed-up. This is the meat of the game (for me at least), and thankfully these challenges pop up pretty often. Once you've dressed them, you can track their progress as they overcome obstacles and unlock rewards for you. If they succeed, they change careers.
Careers are a sort of collectible in this game. People will spontaneously get inspired to pursue new jobs in challenges and in your changing rooms, depending on the stock you have in your shop, and each new career that you unlock is kept in a special section of your shops info. Honestly I'm not sure why this is part of this game, it adds an angle to the fashion boutique idea that doesn't make much sense to me, but if you're the kind of player who needs to get all the collectibles to really complete a game I suspect this feature was designed with you in mind.
Another interesting element of the game is purchasing. You need to keep on top of the latest trends to know which brand's designs to stock and which ones to drop if you want to keep your store's reputation as a trendsetter. Brand popularity rises and falls and the economy booms and busts, and a successful store should take this into account. Buying new products from brands with medals earned in your shop keeps your store fresh and helps build rapport with that brand, which in turn unlocks more stylish goodies. There's no real-world money in exchange for more medals either, and this is something I've always appreciated with Kairosoft's releases. Nothing in mobile gaming is quite so distasteful to me as when a game is structured around milking cash from your wallet at every turn.
Kairosoft releases Lite versions of most of their games a little while after they're launched on a platform, so if you're not quite ready to commit $3.99, just wait a few weeks or try out some of the other Kairosoft games floating around for free. Lite versions will let you play the first couple years or so of a story with only one little ad near the bottom, so they're a great way to test the water.
Ultimately Clothier Story has a lot of clever ideas that are present in some form or another in many of their other titles. Playing it has made me want to revisit older games like Dungeon Town Story and Game Dev Story (an absolutely legendary must-play game). If Clothier Story is the first Kairosoft game you play, just make sure it's not also your last.Tweet
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.