My Style Studio: Hair Salon Review
Posted by Tim Latshaw
Remember that toy where you used a magnetic wand to move iron filings over a drawing of a guy’s head, creating hair, moustaches, and eyebrows? My Style Studio: Hair Salon feels a bit like that, except with less personality and sense of joy.
The Hair Salon does offer you more options, in certain ways. There are five “customers” to choose from as soon as you begin the game who offer a selection of different hair types and styles with which to play. I say “customers” loosely since they serve as nothing more than slightly interactive mannequin heads. They have no requests; no given reason why they are in one of the five wildly varying rooms of your salon. Only the movement of their eyes and lips on their stone-still heads give any clue that they know you are interacting with them. Can they see what you are doing to their hair? Can they hear the same one, bouncy tune that’s used throughout the game but can thankfully be turned off once it grows tiresome? Only they will ever know.
“Interacting” with a customer mainly means choosing one of the 13 different pieces of styling equipment or product and attacking their hair with it. There is no attempt to copy real-life motions; every action is performed by tapping or holding the stylus down on the touch screen, with the top screen remaining entirely unused. While uninspired, the setup is pretty acceptable for broader actions such as shampooing or blow-drying. If you want to go major stylista on a ‘do and engage in some fine-tuned work with the scissors or hair colour, however, the option just isn’t there. No thinning hair or making elaborate designs of colour here; the hair doesn't seem detailed enough to accept such treatments even if you could provide them.
You can use a selection of bows, clips, hats and other objects to accessorize a customer’s hairstyle (or their face, or the area around them). When everything is set, a digital snapshot of the finished product can be taken to share with friends or post as a stern example of what you are capable of doing to anyone who ever crosses you.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about My Style Studio: Hair Salon because there just isn’t much to regard. Its stripped-down simplicity and lack of goals make it appear suited toward a young audience looking for virtual dolls’ heads to mess around with, and there may be some fun for them in that for a while. But the options are too few, the interactivity too weak, and the overall look of the game too dull (and somewhat creepy) that having a real doll just seems like a better option.