Fashion is truly the way forward in this lovely Nintendo 3DS title.
New Style Boutique 2 - Fashion Forward seems to come at a time where many larger Nintendo titles are starting to appear. While that doesn't work in the game's favour, it all comes down to the quality of the experience. The previous two games in this series nailed this down and New Style Boutique 2 builds upon in some fresh and fun ways. There are a few major gripes throughout the journey, but the ride is overall just a very enjoyable one. Could New Style Boutique 2 be the best Nintendo game that is releasing on November 20? That is very well possible!
New Style Boutique 2 is a game packed lots of content, though you won't see most of it in the opening moments. While the cinematics are nicely detailed and the introductions are sort of neat, there is a gap where you are just performing the same tasks over and over. You are just standing in your boutique, picking one piece of clothing for your costumers and getting the job done without any challenge. This is annoying and, while I understand this isn't exactly made for me, I really wished that the game started moving faster.
When the title starts to open up, you really have to wonder why they didn't do this any sooner. You get introduced to Beaumonde City, which gives you the freedom to perform various tasks. It is a place that is made for a fantasy world, where everybody is nice to you and tries to improve their lives with make-up, hair and outfits. As the least fashionable man alive, there was a little disconnect at the start. You shouldn't really give a darn about that though, considering you are the one who is making the choices. This allows for the creative outputs that makes New Style Boutique 2 so much fun to play.
Naturally, you start out with your boutique and this is where you begin to create your fashion empire. You give girls with various tastes clothing advice and give them the boost in confidence that they need. They follow you blindly up to a certain point and convincing them is how you earn money. This can be done by selecting a decent outfit and letting them try it out for themselves. Not every reaction will be the same and giving them nothing will result in them simply leaving your shop.
It doesn't stay with choosing clothing either. You have to constantly update your store with new pieces of clothing and there are 19.000 items in the game. This will see you traveling to the Exhibition Hall, where the hottest brands on the market gather. By buying a select of clothing and styling your store in that way, you can change up the people that you meet and see various wishes come together. Your display window outside becomes crucial to that experience as it shows what your store is made of and attracts people. Some will even attempt to buy the clothing you put on the dolls and gladly give you a hefty amount of money.
There is more than clothing though. As soon as you complete a certain task in the game, you are asked to step up to the plate and try your hand at other professions. Early on, this results in you getting jobs to do woman's hair and make-up, which is more challenging than it sounds. The characters will make more demands and getting them exactly right is your only way to earn that cold cash. A good example is how ignoring the fringes requests in the Hair Salon, will result in disappointing looks from your clients. Luckily, there is more room for error in these segments, so there is enough time to learn from the mistakes you make.
There are also more creative endeavours with the Designer and Caprice Chalet options. The Designer side of it is slightly limited. You are asked to make shirts and other clothing items, which will be sold at the various brands in the Exhibition Hall. It mostly feels that you clicking on stuff and putting something together to get it done. It is inoffensive though and does feature some neat options. You can, for example, make your own emblems and throw these on your own branded clothing.
Caprice Chalet is more fun, because it allows you to make your own rooms and shops. You use special miniature furniture to put it together and once you are done, it all comes to life in the game. While space is limited, it is really rewarding to think outside of the box. These rooms can be shared over the internet and each of them has an unique address, which makes it easy to find those of friends. Your Caprice Chalet data can also be exchanged through StreetPass, if you so desire.
Fashion Shows and modeling also play a part as you progress. The Fashion Shows require you to work with a certain theme in mind and make amazing outfits for you and your buddies. The crowd will respond to your choices and this will also bring different people to the places that you work. Once you select the outfit and hair, you can't really do much more about it. There are buttons that you can press so that you can impress the public, but they seem to add very little to the experience. You have more control of the modeling, which is one of the last bits that you will unlock. Here you can go to various locations, shoot pictures for various advertisement campaigns and make easy money that way. You pick the way the way the photos are made, which of them are sent to the client and if there needs to be any decoration at all. The results have been mixed, but you get the gist of it after a while!
There are still more things added to New Style Boutique 2 to ensure that players will keep enjoying the game. You can hold your contests through Miiverse, though it isn't the way you would expect. The goal of these contests is to make photos based on a certain theme and the player who set it up has to decide the winner. While it is fun, I do miss the feature where you could visit the boutiques of other people. Luckily, you can hang out over Local Play and travel to various locations together. There are options to make photos and visit the rooms that your friends have made. amiibo are supported in a refreshing way and add value to the overall package. By tapping one of the supported amiibo, special costumers based on the characters will populate your boutique. By giving them to the correct customer, you are rewarded with special items that you can't get anywhere else. You can keep trying again until you get it right, so the game surely isn't that cruel!
Graphically, New Style Boutique 2 looks absolutely stunning. It features sharp visuals, which really fit the Nintendo 3DS well. The environments and characters are bright and colorful, which will certainly get you in the mood for this game. The 3D effects add to that intrigue and bring a layer of depth that pleases the eyes. The music deserves even more props, because it features a wide range of music that always seems to click. The various stores in the Exhibition Hall each have their own piece of music and there is a lot to choose from when you set up the store. They clearly put a lot of time and care into it.
One thing that I couldn't stand presentation wise, was some of the dialogue for the NPCs. These computer characters tend to repeat the same lines over and over. This was offensive to the point that two costumers in a row came with the exact same request. It felt really lazy, despite the dialogue being very well written. It would be nice if the game kept this all in check, but no such luck I'm afraid. Throughout the adventure, it happened a little too much for my tastes and that is a huge disappointment in the grand scheme of things. You can easily skip it, but that is not the point. Nintendo should have known better than that.
New Style Boutique 2 - Fashion Forward is one of those games that I use to unwind. It is very enjoyable to fulfill the requests of the NPCs and combine the various tasks into a nice chunk of work. It is easy to pick up and play, but once you get going, the game is really hard to put down. The opening moments could have been a bit faster in my opinion and the dialogue surely didn't need to repeat that often, but there are the only huge strikes in this entry. There are niggles and little things that could potentially annoy, but the sheer amount of content outshines any of it. Sit back, relax and step into the Fashion Narnia that is New Style Boutique 2.