Barbie Dreamtopia - Magical Hair

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Barbie Dreamtopia - Magical Hair App Poster Image
Fantasy hair-design studio requires pricey in-app add-ons.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Kids will have no trouble navigating or using the tools.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Icon to a page with the publisher's other apps in the main menu. In-app purchases visible and available; links to purchases and app downloads require answering a multiplication problem in addition to any parental controls on the device. Ads for other games by the publisher appear periodically. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Barbie Dreamtopia - Magical Hair is a fantasy-based hair-styling game. While the app itself is free, it comes with only two unlocked "lands" (out of six), one character (out of seven), and several tools. The locked content is only available through in-app purchases, which are protected by a multiplication problem, but they're visible to kids at all times. In addition to pop-up ads, there are links from the main menu to the publisher's other apps. The privacy policy is available on the publisher's website. 

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What's it about?

BARBIE DREAMTOPIA - MAGICAL HAIR asks kids to create magical hairstyles to generate magic that will warm up the Wispy Forest, currently under a sheet of ice and snow. Kids choose a location and character (only one character is included in the free app) and use a set of magical tools and accessories to style her hair. The basic tools allow them to brush, straighten, curl, wave, braid, mousse, cut, grow, or color hair, and additional tools are available for purchase. Once users have added a sufficient amount of magic to their hairstyle, they will unlock a glowing orb, which provides additional accessories and helps thaw the Wispy Forest. There are six areas to unlock (two are included in the free app) and seven "dolls" to style (one is included in the free app). 

Is it any good?

This fantastical hair-creativity game has plenty of magical tools to experiment with, but the ads and in-your-face locked content is less than ideal for little kids. The ability to cut and grow hair is pretty magical, and the styling tools are easy to use, albeit lacking some fine-tuning capabilities. Kids will especially enjoy magical accessories that transform the scene when placed in the character's hair. The real downside is how limited the free version is and how expensive in-app purchases are, but parents may appreciate the opportunity to try before buying. The replay value will depend heavily on how much kids enjoy styling hair, as there isn't really anything else to do. But for kids who love playing "salon," they won't be able to get enough of it. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about body image. Do the girls in the app look like you and your friends? How are they the same or different? Do you think they look real? Why would someone change the color or style of their hair? 

  • How do you like this app as compared to other apps you could play? If you had or have limited screen time, would you pick this app over other apps on your device? Why, or why not?

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