Fashion Story chooses style over substance
The most interesting thing about observing the growth of social games is watching how expanded the audience has become. There’s a social game for everyone these days, from kids who want to play with Smurfs to folks who want to raise dinosaurs. In the middle of this spectrum lies Fashion Story, a very accessible social title that seems to pick style over substance.
The goal of Fashion Story is to run your very own fashion shop. You’ll want to stock the shelves with the hottest fashions to bring in as many customers as you can. You can customize your shop as much as you like, and visit other shops to give gifts to the owners. Hopefully you’ll get visitors of your own as well.
From the get-go, Fashion Story makes itself as open and easy as possible. There aren’t a ton of sub-menus, all the icons are big and colorful, and the extremely short tutorial tells you everything you need to know. Fashion Story seems designed to appeal to a very broad audience. This idea isn’t a bad thing, and many games could benefit from this.
As far as the customization goes, it’s everywhere in Fashion Story. The shop can be decorated in a multitude of colors, textures and patterns. From the floor to the walls to the racks and changing rooms, you’re very unlikely to see the same store twice. Heck, you’re unlikely to see the same proprietor either. The same high degree of customization goes for your avatar as well. The creation process is very reminiscent of building a Mii on the Nintendo Wii or 3DS. That is, it’s very easy and fun to do, but there’s enough depth to the customization that you can express yourself as you wish.
Stocking the store is a simple affair. You pick the item of clothing you want to order, pay for it and wait. Be sure to be nearby when the order is ready for pick-up, or it will be returned to the factory. While it may seem annoying, it’s no different than having to harvest a crop in a farming game before it withers. More expensive higher fashions become available at higher levels.
The vibe that Fashion Story puts out is surprisingly cool chic. The music and beats really bring the store to life as much as the vibrant, colorful graphics. The different designs of clothing are pretty nice too. The animation of the customers is a bit stiff, but it’s a pretty minor quibble.
Fashion Story‘s accessibility, unfortunately, also becomes its downfall. In making things accessible, there’s very little to do but order, wait, receive, paint and customize the shop. There are no activities, such as designing your own clothing. Most other social games offer a variety of things to do. Here you just have to bide your time.
The social networking isn’t really present either. Sure, you can invite your friends and visit random people’s shops, but there’s no element of trading or real communication outside of a message board or two. Imagine creating a set of threads that other people had to have, advertise it on a social board and have other shops purchase the items for their shop. Now that would be something. In Fashion Story, there’s just not that much to do.
Where Fashion Story succeeds is in making a social game truly accessible is in terms of keeping the interface clean and the goals straightforward. It’s evident that some depth was sacrificed, which detracts from the real longevity of the game. However, as a free social title, it’s hard to go wrong with Fashion Story. Just don’t expect too many brains behind this beauty.