Working in retail is a thankless job as employees deal with fussy customers, the messes they leave behind, and many personalities. In Fashion Fits, a time management game from new studio Fugazo, players experience working in a clothing store with mouse clicks replacing hard labor.
Francie starts a new job as the only employee at Uber-Mart clothing store. While she works hard, the boss gets all the credit and takes frequent vacations leaving her to fend for herself. Somehow, Francie must keep the tables stocked, fitting rooms clean, check out lines short, and customers helped. As she gains experience, she decides to open her own store and adds more locations as she becomes more successful. The five stores help the game stay fresh thanks to each having its own theme and strategy.
The 13 customer types range from the granny who always leaves one outfit in the dressing room, the surfer dude who asks you to wrap a gift, the mom who buys the first thing she tries on, and the college guy who expects Francie to bring clothes to him in the dressing room. Players will appreciate that knowing the customers’ likes and dislikes pays off.
As a bonus round, you participate in a memory mini-game where the goal is to dress window mannequins for the new season. The use of memorization as mini-games is getting old, but at least this one doesn’t use cards. Instead, clothed mannequins appear for a few seconds, giving you a chance to memorize their outfits, then they disappear and return wearing nothing but unmentionables. A selection of tops and bottoms shows up for dressing them in the same outfit complete with the right style and color. The game awards bonus cash for every correct match and for speed. The mini-game loses appeal after one or two rounds, but thankfully the outcome doesn’t affect the game much.
One of the best parts of Fashion Fits is how easy it is to move Francie. Each action in the chain receives a number in the order Francie will perform the action. The game allows you to create a chain of up to six actions, and delete any action by right-clicking on its number. The numbers change as Francie completes the action or players delete it. Unfortunately, no extra points come with chaining.
How does the final edition compare to the preview? For one, the game moves at a faster pace. This erases a lot of the “waiting” for Francie to take action or work through a chain that the original had. Treats sit on the counter next to the cash register to boost tips, and treats can be upraded to earn more money. Also, some customers buy two items rather than just one.
The handbook contains insight into the different customer types, their favorite outfits, their patience level, and their quirks. The handbook is handy, but you can’t pull it back up if you accidentally close it. The only time it appears is prior to starting the next level. The same goes for the note that gives hints to Francie on what to expect in the next level. Notes provide details such as dealing with many teens or customers preparing for summer and going to the beach.
Although the notes help, players might not be able to do what they suggest because they haven’t progressed far enough to have the needed upgrades. Some upgrades aren’t available until Francie has all of the prerequisite upgrades, leaving players unable to comply with the note’s suggestions.
That said, the upgrades in Fashion Fits are nicely spread out across the levels. They aren’t too easy to obtain, and it’s possible to complete a round in a store without buying all of the upgrades. In the next round in the new store, it’s back to square one. With 55 levels and five stores, it’s enough to hold the attention of even an easily bored gamer.
The music is neither rockin’ nor bland, however, the sound effects are right on. The coolest sound effect comes with checking out at least three customers – that must be the sound of money coming in. When a customer grows angry, a sound issues a subtle warning so Francie can save the customer before the customer blows up and is gone for good. You can save a customer by providing a drink, but use those drinks wisely as there are only two per level even in advanced levels. It would be nice if the game came with the ability to buy more drinks – this feature shouldn’t make the game too easy.
Since Fashion Fits comes with one game mode, its story isn’t so heavy that it slows the play down for those not into stories. Some believe it’s not good for a game to offer only one mode, but adding more modes for no other reason than to have a multi-mode game doesn’t make good sense.
Fashion Fits is a good first effort from Fugazo, but even though the game was created by the same designer as Cake Mania, it doesn’t quite have the same charm. However, although Fashion Fits offers little originality and doesn’t provide much incentive for playing it again, it is an enjoyable game the first time through, and is just the right length.