My Dress-Up – Nintendo DS Game

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When little girls play dress-up, they aren’t doing it for any real purpose. They aren’t hoping to get top marks from a fashion judge. They aren’t giving out wardrobe advice like tiny versions of What Not to Wear. They’re just being silly, putting on mommy’s fancy clothes and dancing around the living room with plastic wine glasses saying big words like “pardon me.”

Playing My Dress-Up works along the same lines. Just as real children play dress-up for no reason aside from having some silly fun, they can play this game for no reason aside from having some silly fun. That seems logical in concept, but it turns out that doing something pointless is less fun when you’re not at least doing it for real.

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The box is fairly well designed and leaves no question that this game is targeted towards kids. The instruction booklet is pretty decent and should be useful for helping guide people through the game. That is, if you can’t figure it out just by looking at it…

Specifications:

My Dress-Up

Dressing-Up, Fashion and Design for you and your friends. With over 600 customizable items to choose from, you can style yourself and your friends over and over again!

Check your messages to see who needs your help, dress friends up for special occasions, parties, fancy dress or just for the fun of it! Store your favourite outfits in your wardrobe and show them off to your friends, or invite up to 3 of your friends to a Dress-Up party and rate each other on your styling skills, via DS Wireless Communications.

If you’re feeling creative design a range of special t-shirts for you and your friends to wear, connect with My Make-Up friends for a full makeover, or sit back and chat with all of your My Dress-Up, My Make-Up and My Secret Diary friends with exclusive ‘MyGames Chat’ over DS Wireless Communications.

Formats: DS

Age Rating: 3+

What we have with My Dress-Up is a 2D click-and-watch “game” where you apply different outfits to rendered still pictures. Imagine cutting a bunch of clothing pieces of out of a magazine and taping them together on top of your favorite picture of Angelina Jolie. That’s what this game is.

There is no story, no goal, no objectives, no point – you just dress things. The game has a portrait orientation requiring you to turn your DS on its side to play left and right. Take a peek at my exceptionally bad photos for reference.

The main menu hits you with four options, the first of which is Friends.

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In Friends mode, you make a person and dress them. After you dress them, you can save the wardrobe or not save the wardrobe. That’s all there is to know. You are given the option to choose their face shape, skin color, eye color and lips. The skin colors are all very strange and unnatural, from paper white to really really intense coffee black. Everything in between are strange muddled pigments that don’t look like human skin colors. You give them a name and a birthday. You attribute them a personality, because all girls are either cool, shy, smart, grumpy or funny. Yay for gender roles! You pick her favorite color and for some reason her favorite animal. Awesome.

Dressing people is the meat of the game. I say that loosely, because if it’s the meat of the game, it’s like Spam. Or Beggin’ Strips, because they’re not really even meat. In all reality, if I were a five year-old girl, dressing people could be fun for a few minutes. You scroll to choose the area of the body, then pick the piece of clothing you want, then give it a color and a pattern (there are an extremely large number of colors, but usually only 1-3 patterns for something) and then apply it to the 2D figure. The left screen shows your person standing there, never moving, never doing anything, just standing there. You can’t get any other angles of the body, no viewing the back, no nothing.

There is no freedom to pick things like height or weight, nose shape, bra size, torso length… But that’s okay, all girls look exactly the same in real life. Right? No? Oh, I’ve been inside too long.

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Basically, it’s the character creation screen you find at the beginning of a lot of video games. Except worse. And it’s the whole game.

By know you’ve noticed the graphics are crude and unappealing, even for a young person. Just ask a little kid. I did. They weren’t impressed. I can’t prove this to be true, because I didn’t take a written statement or vocal recording from the kid, but I hope you’ll take my word for it.

The Messages section on the menu is exactly the same thing as the Friends section, except instead of creating a person and going from there, you’re first given a “task” by a “friend” that you should “accomplish” while “dressing” them.

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As soon as you accept a task from a friend you go right into the dressing screen and do it all just like above. Regardless of who the person is, where they’re going, or how you dress them, they love it when you’re done. This makes this mode utterly pointless. You’re never graded on how well you compose the outfit, match things, or actually dress the person to suit the event they’re attending. Again – I know – real life dress-up is just for kicks. But seriously… some reason to be playing this would be good.

Or maybe Paula G really does want to go out to dinner with her mother looking like a 1980s carnival hooker. I will never know for sure, because it wasn’t one of the hip, young phrases that these characters utter via messages. I do know, however, that she enjoys art class.

Top Designer is probably the biggest joke about this game. You pick a garment and apply a pre-made logo. You can pick the color of the top and the colors of the logo. Click, click, done. Big deal.

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There is almost no sound to speak of in My Dress-Up. If you put the DS down to go get a Capri Sun and forget to come back to it, your battery will be die because the thing might as well be turned off with the amount of sound coming from the game. No music, very little effects when navigating or working on clothes. As if this wasn’t boring enough…

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At least you don’t have to worry about getting the tune stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Dead silence isn’t particularly catchy. It does make this a great game to play during church, or when hiding from gunmen.

As for control, I mean, it’s fine. You don’t really have to do anything, so simple touching with the stylus is more than enough. I don’t really see how it could have gone wrong, so it’s workable by default.

The documentation says there are over 600 articles of clothing in the game. How thrilling. To create that total, you have to dress more people and unlock more clothes. That’s really the only objective available in this title. Too bad you don’t have to have any skill or really do anything to unlock them, aside from resist the urge to put down the game after five minutes.

My Dress-Up is part of a series of “My” games. Normally, the prospect of wireless linking with other DS consoles and your friends would be cool. Not so much with this game, because it’s just not worth doing. All the games in this series should be one game, and even then it still might not be worth buying. They are $30 each, after all. I mean come on, I can buy The Orange Box for $20.

Of course, I can’t play The Orange Box in church… It’s got sound and animations and all those crazy things some games have.

You can use My Make-Up to put makeup on your person you created and dressed in My Dress-Up, but you’re not going to. I promise. I promise you’re not going to pay $60 for both of those games so that you can do what should have been part of the game If you do, there are no words I can say that will justify your actions.

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Conclusion:

Alright, so the game is made for people ages three and up. The excitement level doesn’t have to be super high, and the archaic design may go unnoticed. Still, to pay $30 for a weak digital version of something kids can do for free using real clothes at home seems a silly idea. That price tag really kills it for me.

It’s nothing more than a character creation screen, and one that is hideously outdone by most character creation screens in real games. The biggest flaw is that you don’t get to do anything with the character after you’ve made them. You just get to dress another character. Then you can go make the Eiffel Tower out of pipe cleaners or count leaves in your yard. At least you’ll have something to show for that.

Pros:
+Easy to operate, straightforward game for kids
+Pretty colors

Cons:
-Just about everything else.

Grades:
Overall score-3-10
Design score-4-10
Performance score-2-10
  • Jysika

    Now you just made the ecision harder than it already was. I was thinking about begging my parents all day to get it, but now I can’ do that. Thanks alot! I really wanted to get on my parents nerves for all those years…

  • Macy

    Thanks for the great review. I bought this for my daughter, but now I know I can give it to one of her friends for a gift instead. lol

  • Hele Vetica

    I know this is an old post,.. but whatever. Honesty,.. this isn’t game for kids that read. My almost 4yr old daughter wants to play games, too. She can’t keep up with her big sis as she’s 5 yrs older and reads very well and plays the DS everytime we get in the car. This game was perfect my little one who just wants to have some fun with her DS.

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