Game Review

Style Savvy: Trendsetters Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Morgan Sleeper

They see me stylin', they hatin'

What's the hottest new fashion trend this fall season? Nintendo's hoping it won't be cobalt leg-warmers or autumn florals, but rather their newly released 3DS fashion sim, Style Savvy: Trendsetters. With engaging collection and customization-based gameplay and classy production values, they've certainly got a good shot; Style Savvy is a fun and expansive game that will delight budding fashionistas - and maybe even tempt some style skeptics into the bargain.

Putting players in the role of a new hire at a small boutique, Style Savvy has more of a story than you might expect. It's comfortingly quotidian rather than fantastical, and the running theme of fashion as urban renewal is a perfect fit for the style and the gameplay: as your shop grows in size and prestige, so does the town around you, with new characters arriving and new shops and areas opening up as you play.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of Style Savvy: Trendsetters is the almost bewildering amount of things you can do in your little town. In any given day, you could spend your time working at your boutique, tending to customers and enjoying the dialogue while coordinating outfits and making sales. Or you could visit the Buyer's Centre and stock up on new clothes, enter runway contests, dress up mannequins and coordinate your window display. There's also the chance to redecorate the boutique (or your apartment), meet new people and make contacts downtown, get your 'flower fortune' read at the park, enjoy a refreshing tea at the café, tweak your online storefront or just try on new outfits, hairstyles, and makeup.

Even with all these options, you'll likely spend much of your time on the main focus of the game: selecting outfits for customers who show up at the boutique. Along with a quirky bio ("She's a vegetarian who hates vegetables", "Has a unicorn collection that no one's ever seen"), each customer will have a specific request and a maximum spending limit. Working with your stock and within their taste and budget, you'll pick anything from a pair of shoes to a full outfit to show them and, hopefully, make the sale. Satisfied customers will return for more, and if you've impressed someone with a particularly bold recommendation they might end up buying more than they came in for.

There's a huge variety in clothing styles, split across dozens of fictitious brands that each specialize in a particular 'taste', like pop, edgy, girly, boho-chic, retro, and many more - whatever your personal style, you'll find something representative here. You acquire your stock from the Buyer's Centre, where available items are constantly changing and new brands pop up as you progress through the game. Eventually, you'll also be able to customize your store's interior design, window display, and even music, all of which will affect the kinds of customers who will walk into the shop.

It's difficult to explain why exactly this all ends up being so much fun, but it really is. Between the ever-advancing story, the addictive cycle of buying stock, putting together outfits and making sales, and the incredible variety of smaller diversions, Style Savvy knows how to keep you entertained. It's the kind of game you'll pick up to play for 10 minutes and find yourself still enjoying an hour later.

Progress is made by filling up a Happiness meter, which both resembles and works like the Rhythmia crystal in Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy. Pleasing customers or doing something nice for yourself will help fill your meter, and every night the accumulated happiness advances the phase of the moon; each time the moon becomes full, more of the game opens up. It's a nice system that lets you take a freeform approach to furthering the linear story, but it's definitely on the slow side: features like StreetPass, the online Fashion Plaza, boutique management and fashion shows only appear after several hours of play.

In truth, this measured approach helps to keep the huge amount of gameplay possibilities from feeling overwhelming, and makes sure there's always something to look forward to. That said, if you're particularly interested in a specific feature like online shops or runway contests, know that you'll have to pay your dues as a fashion newbie before you can dive in to everything the game has to offer.

One criticism with the gameplay is that the customer requests tend to be incredibly straightforward. If a customer comes in asking for an edgy base-layer, a surefire way to please is simply to filter your inventory for base-layers with an 'edgy' taste and pick any of the resulting options; it's almost too easy. Sure, this doesn't actually stop you from being creative or following your fashion instincts, but it definitely removes some of the incentive to experiment. Sometimes customers will ask for an outfit that "fits their style" or "matches their boots", without using one of the magic adjectives searchable in the inventory. These challenges are definitely more exciting, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

Another small complaint is that the options for actually viewing your fashion masterpieces are a bit limited. Once you've successfully dressed a customer you can spin them around and choose between two zoom levels, but there's no way to change poses or see an animation. They're frozen in sublime satisfaction with your selection, which is flattering but not really conducive to admiring your handiwork.

In terms of audience, Style Savvy: Trendsetters leans distinctly towards the feminine. The game does let you work with male fashion as well, but only after several hours of play. It's also worth noting that there's no Professor Oak-style "Are you a boy or a girl?" choice here - your character is automatically female. While it worked out with this reviewer's relatively androgynous moniker, it's something to bear in mind for the name input screen if you happen to be a male player more on the "Bruce" or "Timothy" side of the spectrum.

That's certainly not to say that the game can't be enjoyed by gamers of all stripes, however. The underlying gameplay elements of customization, resource management, and life simulation are addictive and thoroughly enjoyable. Customizing your boutique and apartment, managing stock and unlocking new clothing styles - and going to the café for no reason other than to savour a charmingly animated cuppa - all call to mind the relaxing fun of Animal Crossing. The customization isn't as deep as in Nintendo's sylvan sandbox classic - here it's more about choosing and tweaking options than creating from the ground up - but it's fun and satisfying in the same way.

Fitting for a game so focused on fashion, Style Savvy: Trendsetters' presentation is excellent. The graphics are crisp and colourful, with an elegant, minimalist approach that lets the styles take centre stage. The character models look good and the animations add a lot of personality, but they unfortunately repeat quite often. Michaela's gung-ho, winking thumbs-up is thoroughly charming on her, for example, but becomes less so by the time you've seen the same move performed by your seventh or eighth satisfied customer in a row. That's really our only complaint here though; the interface is slick and refined, the 3D effect works wonderfully, and cutscenes draw inspiration from a variety of fashion materials, like felt and craft paper, to craft a unique look that fits the game perfectly.

The music is similarly fantastic, with upbeat, breezy bossa nova and light jazz mixed with easy, catchy synth melodies that wouldn't seem out of place in Wii Fit. It's elevator music in a good way; the kind that might tempt you to ride a few floors past your destination in order to keep listening. There's no voice acting, but the written dialogue is surprisingly well done. It's clever and at times self-referential, such as when the character who relays your avatar's appearance (letting you choose it in the process) to a fellow fashionista is called out for her ridiculously detailed description, "right down to the eyebrow shape!"

Bearing the Nintendo Network logo proudly, Style Savvy has an excellent online component in the Fashion Plaza, where you can create and curate your own online shop. You'll get a personalized shop code, pick a wallpaper and choose three outfits to upload that other players can buy for themselves (without depleting your offline stock). Browsing and purchasing outfits uploaded by other players is good fun and works nicely, and you can view the profile cards of the owners whose shops you visit as well. There are also local multiplayer collaborative fashion shows for up to four players where you work together to design outfits to fit a theme, walk the catwalk to show them off, and are judged collectively on how you did. Unfortunately, each stylist will need their own copy of the game for this mode, as there's no Download Play.

Along with the online shop and local multiplayer options, Style Savvy: Trendsetters makes good use of the 3DS' unique features. An AR Photo Shoot mode uses the '?' card included with 3DS systems and allows players to take pictures of characters from the game in real-world environments. StreetPass integration allows savvy 3DS users to swap profile cards, and players you've tagged will appear in your shop as customers. These profile cards also integrate with the Fashion Plaza, allowing for internet-enabled StreetPass followups. You can specify what kind of outfit you'd like to receive on your profile card, and players you've StreetPassed will have the option to upload a bespoke ensemble for you that you can then download from the Fashion Plaza. It's an intriguing idea, and a concept that we hope makes its way to more 3DS games in future. SpotPass functionality for downloading items is also included, but we were unable to test it for this review.

Another nice feature is that the game allows you to take photos at almost any time - including during dialogue scenes - with a quick tap of the R button. These photos can be exported to the SD card for sharing, and can also rather helpfully serve as a 'bookmark' of sorts for particularly memorable outfit: a "Copy from Photo" function in the outfit selection menu lets you instantly match any ensemble you've got photographic evidence of.

Conclusion

Style Savvy: Trendsetters is a beautiful game which offers an incredible variety of content, boasts addictive gameplay, and makes excellent use of the 3DS' features. Like its up-and-coming fashionista protagonist, Style Savvy is confident, fun and charming. If fashion games are your style, you'll be absolutely thrilled with everything on offer here, and even if it's not the sort of game you'd normally consider picking up, it's well worth a second look.

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User Comments (55)

Bankai

#1

Bankai said:

Hey good review. Good to see this game gets a fair review from at least one source.

Dreadjaws

#2

Dreadjaws said:

I had assumed this was going to get a low score but I'm really surprised. I guess it's one of those really addictive simulation games. Not my cup of tea, since I pretty much hate the fashion world, but I understand people liking it.

kurtasbestos

#3

kurtasbestos said:

Wow... this game sounds pretty great, and I have absolutely no interest in fashion or life simulations.

Arianabtd

#6

Arianabtd said:

I got the first game right when it came out in 2009. I was shocked about how amazing and detailed the game was and I played it all the time. Very excited to pick this up or download it.

Wildvine53

#7

Wildvine53 said:

Excellent review, I'm only a few hours in, but I've had a lot of fun with this! The AR photo shoot is cool, especially with the giant AR card. I haven't unlocked the fashion plaza yet, but I'm looking forward to visiting everyone's shops.

Tindre

#8

Tindre said:

Waiting for Europe release~~ If it wasn't for region lock I would probably buy it from overseas.. :<

I really loved the first one. Awesome time-sink and makes you feel all fuzzy inside. >w< <3

Barbiegurl777

#9

Barbiegurl777 said:

I bought this yesterday in the e-shop. :) I really like it. :) I never played the original style savvy only the 3ds version. It's really fun though. :)

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

Windy

#12

Windy said:

I just Noticed this has Online Components. Wow I normally would not consider a game of this type but may give this one a go. It seems like a relaxing game experience anyway. Just dont tell anyone Windy has gone soft :P

sillygostly

#14

sillygostly said:

"Has a unicorn collection that no one's ever seen"

This gave me a chuckle. :D
I'll definitely keep this game on my wishlist. Pity about the sexism though.

Shiromikio

#15

Shiromikio said:

Thanks for the informative review.

Question: is the fashion show a must to advance in the game or can you play this for the most part without entering in the shows?

I might look into this again. Tried the demo and didn't like the fashion shows. I hadn't realised before this review that it was just tag-matching and found it didn't take well to experimenting. However, it looks like there a lot more activities besides the fashion shows, and the online plaza sounds cool.

Slightly tempted to get this for the DK game. (I still haven't decided which to get as a download, got tired of Layton puzzles after finishing Last Specter so I might not be getting Miracle Mask after all.)

pariah164

#17

pariah164 said:

I would be playing this already if Nintendo didn't decide to not sell this game ANYWHERE except their Nintendo Store in NYC. Seriously, it is impossible to find a retail copy of this game.

Back on topic, good review.

Flowerlark

#20

Flowerlark said:

Wow, I was expecting a crappy score, but I guess not all fashion games are bad. Still completely uninterested, though. I'm about the least fashionable woman to ever live. The most I ever coordinated was when I cosplayed Link.

And @dirtyplastic- the only people who are sheep are those too small-minded to realise that other people may have interests outside their own.

misswliu81

#22

misswliu81 said:

an 8? wow, didn't expect that one. but the review is positive enough for me to get this. and by nintendo as well, that is a surprise. but this has nintendo quality stamped all over it, so yes. very nice.

machomuu

#23

machomuu said:

I'm glad to see that this review doesn't simply cast this off as "another fashion game" and give it a 4 or the like. Granted, I'm not particularly interested in the genre, but that sort of bias is often generated from popular review sites, so its nice to see a fair review like this.

WolfRamHeart

#24

WolfRamHeart said:

Thanks for the review Morgan. I tried the demo for this game and I really enjoyed it. I didn't think that I would but it was pretty fun. I will probably pick this up when I have some extra cash.

Millenia

#26

Millenia said:

My local gamestop doesn't get it until the 25th. -__- Huge fan of the original <3 Can not wait for this.

Multiboy2k

#27

Multiboy2k said:

I love this game!
Im a guy who is not even into fashion. Most of my friends see me as 'challenged' when it comes to dressing up in real life. But, this game has been worth it for me so far. I played the demo and thought it was cool. I bought the game and cant put it down. If any of the developers are reading this, PLEASE consider adding the following via patch.

DLC with this content:
1. More MENS fashion and clothing items.
2. Runway shows over online multiplay. (the ability to watch someone else's fashion show with their clothes.)
3. This may be asking to much for DLC, but a MALE character to work in the store.
This game has wide range appeal. Make it palatable for men who play this game.

Developers: I dont know if you know this, but my research has found that your targeted demographic may not be the one you intended. There is a 15 year old girl on Gamefaqs complaining that SHE feels out of place due to the amount of adults who have picked up this game so far. Im 39. So, there is also that. lol

moomoo

#28

moomoo said:

Based on the demo it seemed quality. It's not my cup of tea, but it's quality, and there are few quality games for the demographic this game reaches out to. I'm fine with more of these.

Lunapplebloom

#29

Lunapplebloom said:

I got my sister the original game on the DS when it came out a couple years ago, and she rather enjoyed that one. I had this one on my radar for quite some time and was going to get it, but it's nice to see that it got a good score.

FonistofCruxis

#31

FonistofCruxis said:

Good review and while this isn't my sort of game, its good to see that this game's demographic will have a well made game to play as these sorts of games aren't normally good.
@Tindre Its out in Europe on 16th November.

Kamalot

#32

Kamalot said:

Will this game get a digital download? I'm living in India and would love to get a copy of it.

WiiLovePeace

#33

WiiLovePeace said:

I'd buy this for my mum, she's into this sorta stuff but I'd probably have a go at it in secret too :P

Phle

#34

Phle said:

This game seems like something I could really enjoy.
So... European release at 16th November. Sounds good.

MagicEmperor

#35

MagicEmperor said:

I gotta be honest. When I first heard about this game (I never heard of the first Style Savvy), I immediately dismissed it as a "cheap girl's game." But after reading this review and watching videos, I'm curious. I think I'll check out the demo.

florecita

#36

florecita said:

I might actually get this. However, I didnt get into animal crossing too much. I dont know if I would want to pay $40 or more for this, but i might try the demo and see if I like it.

sinalefa

#37

sinalefa said:

@multiboy2k

It is a Nintendo game, so the targeted demographic must be anyone from 9 to 90 years old.

Hate to say it, but this is the most in depth review I have seen in this site in a long time. Good job, Morgan!

NTELLIGENTMAN

#39

NTELLIGENTMAN said:

I just wish there was a fashion design simulator for consoles. You have to spend at least $300 to get one on the PC. I'd love to pay $30 to design my own clothes on the DS. Imagine taking photos of textures and then editing the textures by changing the color or the size of the photo. After that, you could slap it on a pre-made outfit, then modify the outfit such as shortening a skirt, adding folds to a skirt, putting holes in jeans, making a tight tee long sleeve, etc.

zipmonStaff

#42

zipmon said:

Thanks for all the comments you guys!! :D

@Shiromikio Definitely - the happiness system for progressing in the game means you can basically do as much of whatever you like to advance. And there's plenty else to keep you occupied! If you want to get into higher level fashion shows you'll need to do more fashion shows, of course, but as far as I can tell the only thing you'd miss by ignoring them is the ability to runway shop and some pretty great dialogue from the MC! :) FWIW, I've logged 11+ hours so far with only one fashion show under my belt!

slidecage

#43

slidecage said:

love the first game sort of hate the second game probally did not give it a major chance since i played it 30 mins before turning it off... maybe more tonight before it goes back to gamefly monday... got to get a slot open for Ragnarok Odyssey on nov 1

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#44

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

@slidecage I like the second one more IMO. It has more content yes but the storyline is more polished than the first and the contests take a bit more work to do than just winning once to move to the next tier.

Zhanglot

#45

Zhanglot said:

I love sim games, and I kind of want this. I'm a bit embarrassed to buy it though! :$

IsaWooHoo

#47

IsaWooHoo said:

This made me buy the game, and I enjoyed it very much. I don't usually enjoy life simulation games, let alone one about fashion, but this one sucked me right in!

Mahra

#48

Mahra said:

Im actually Looking forward to this when it comes out in Europe I will Be able to get it :) Never played the first one thou I've missed out the fun before :O
*GREAT REVIEW *
Made me want to buy it , the demo was great as well
Happy Gaming ! :D

theblackdragonAdmin

#49

theblackdragon said:

The only thing I don't like about this game is the zoom levels while you're picking out outfits — it's kinda hard to accurately see what color something is from far away, and when you're trying to match a hat with shoes or a purse it can be a hassle to toggle everything around until you're able to see them properly. Thankfully the game has been a bit more forgiving then I've been of myself in that respect, haha — the fashion taste here is crazy, it's one of the reasons I really like this game.

I do kinda wish they were a bit more freeform or forgiving if you want to mix brands or styles, though — they praise you to the heavens if you stick to a brand or a particular taste, but god forbid you throw on a Flirty shirt with the rest of a Bold outfit, even though it seems to match. all in all, though, I'm having a lot of fun~

Skeletor

#52

Skeletor said:

My wife loved the first entry. Unfortunately, she breezed right through it (well, over a couple of months), and hit a wall when the seasons wouldn't progress further, and she couldn't get any more money. So, I'm curious if anyone knows if that has recurred?

Fashion_Ninja10

#53

Fashion_Ninja10 said:

This is a fun game. No doubt. I finished the FIRST elite contest, and a customer said something about an International Contest? Does anyone know if there's something after the International Contest, or is that it?

Anyways, I literally can play this game until my 3ds dies. I love pretty much everything about it, and i can't think of any flaws (although i'm sure there is A FEW). This is so far my favirote 3ds game.

NativeLightsPup

#54

NativeLightsPup said:

This is one game I cannot get enough of. I love it so much, and that's says a lot from someone who doesn't know lick about fashion. I'm more into something like Sonic or Mario, but some games catches my eyes, and this is one of them.

KaoruxChan

#55

KaoruxChan said:

This game is awesome and very addictive ^o^ for girls who love fashion and non stop custimazation you should check it out

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