Hair Salon: Pocket Stylist Review
Posted by James Newton
Mane attraction or curl up and dye?
Just in case you've ever wondered what you'd look like with a head of luscious bright green hair, here's Hair Salon: Pocket Stylist to satiate your curiosity.
To start, you snap a picture with your DSi camera and manoeuvre your face within the guide area, which then becomes the face of your character. In case you have an aversion to pretending to cut your own hair, you can create a cartoon likeness to take your place, though the small variety of features available means you're unlikely to create one such digital doppelganger.
Whichever you choose, 2D hair is then draped over your character for you to sculpt with a variety of tools including scissors, curling irons, straighteners and hair dye (in a spray bottle, of course). If you don't feel like cutting, there are some pre-prepared wigs available that often utilise hairstyles that it's impossible to create yourself, including pigtails and forehead-covering fringes.
Cutting the hair away works well, although its sprite-based setup (as opposed to a 3D polygonal one) means that you really only have limited options, but that's understandable. It also means that you can't rotate your character to tackle the hair behind, but as the outcome of all your handiwork is a photo anyway that's no great loss. The curling irons and straighteners work as you'd expect: sliding them over hair gives the desired effect, and the spray dye isn't just a flat fill but offers a range of shades and strengths depending on how long you spray. It's even possible to blend colours, opening up further potential for realising your hairy dreams.
After a turn in the barber's chair it's time for make-up, which lets you apply eye shadow, blush and lipstick. If you've used a cartoon creation, this mode will only let you apply these to the corresponding facial feature, but if it's your mug on the screen you can doodle all over it to your heart's content with truly terrifying results. With make-up completed, it's off to take a photo. You can also change your character's dress and background before saving the snap to the DSi album and starting again.
Graphically, there's not much to go on: the hairstyles are decent but the use of sprites instead of 3D does naturally limit the potential number of outcomes. The faces also lack variety, as do the backgrounds, and the ability to snap your own backdrop would have been a welcome addition. The music is GameBoy Advance quality at best, although the snip-snip sound effects are more pleasing.
Whether or not you buy this will ultimately come down to how much you want to pretend to cut people's hair. There's certainly the potential for some highly embarrassing photos to come out of this application, and if you fancy being able to give you or your friends a virtual makeover anywhere you go then this is probably the only DSiWare game for you. Anyone else should probably give it a pass.