Belle’s dream is to open a salon so she can "make the world a more beautiful place, one person at a time." She gets her wish in Belle’s Beauty Boutique, where she gets to run her very own beauty parlor and do her best to satisfy the demands of the assorted customers who walk through the door.
Like other Diner Dash-inspired games, Belle’s Beauty Boutique challenges players to keep customers happy by making sure they receive the services they ask for. This involves seating customers in the appropriate chairs depending on whether they ask for a wash, cut, blow dry, manicure or dye job, and then cleaning the station afterwards if they’ve left a mess behind.
Additionally, giving someone a dye job or manicures involves playing a little mini-game where an arrow rotates around a four-color wheel, and you have to click when the arrow is on the color that the customer desires. Accidentally give grandma green hair instead of blonde, and watch your tip go down the drain!
But everyone knows that there’s more to a salon than just getting your hair cut. It’s a social meeting place where people come together to dish out the latest gossip while their hair is up in curlers, or to check out the hot cutie in the next seat while getting their nails done.
In this regard, Belle’s Beauty Boutique is a bit of a departure from the standard formula found in other similar games. Instead of the goal being to rack up bonus points by chaining commands of the same type together, players earn bonuses by seating customers in such a way that they’re able to gossip and flirt with each other.
Different types of customers will walk through the salon doors, each of whom has their own special needs and characteristics. The ladies are the staple of the salon; guys are less demanding but messier and enjoy flirting with the lady in the next seat. Gossips and grandmas love to talk (about other people, behind their backs), while the middle-aged guy in the Hawaiian shirt fancies himself a ladies man and will flirt with anything that walks, including grandmas. If Belle is lucky, the Super Star will grace the boutique with her presence – she’ll leave a huge tip but only if her every whim is catered to as quickly as possible.
The quicker Belle sees to her customers, the happier they’ll be and the larger the tips they’ll leave behind. If Belle earns enough money before closing time, the shop will be able to open again the next day. Eventually, Belle will be able to purchase upgrades like a magazine rack, spa treatments and tea to give to customers to increase their dispositions if they’ve been waiting for a long time, or a TV or radio to keep them entertained as they wait to be seated.
Belle can also make a few upgrades to the appearance of the salon like changing the colour of windows and walls. Personally, I would have loved to be able to entirely completely customize the shop from ceiling to floor with furniture, art, plants and so on.
The game gradually gets harder as more chairs are added and more customers visit the store. Eventually Belle will be able to hire an assistant to help her with some of the work, as long as Belle can keep her employee from getting distracted and pulling out her homework or cell phone.
Perhaps because Belle has an assistant to help her out when the going gets tough, it’s not all that difficult to make it through the 40 levels of Belle’s Beauty Boutique’s story mode. The experience doesn’t have to end there, however. Players can opt to replay the story mode to try and earn Expert rankings in all levels (which isn’t such an easy thing to do), or see how large of a score they can rack up in the game’s second mode, Endless Beauty, which is exactly what it sounds like: one long, drawn out work day where the clock never reaches 5 p.m.
Thanks to cute animations and clever little voice-overs from the assorted characters, the salon atmosphere really comes alive in Belle’s Beauty Boutique. So if you’ve already conquered the restaurant industry – or can’t conquer it and want something a little easier – then give the beauty industry a try!