Charm Girls Club: My Fashion Mall

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Charm Girls Club: My Fashion Mall Game Poster Image
Teen girls working-in-mall sim loaded with consumerism.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

All the food eaten in the game is fast food. Much importance is placed on looking good -- having the right clothes and the right makeup and hairstyles -- to win boys away from rival girls interested in the same boys. On the positive side, hard work, diligence, and responsibility are also stressed as important traits in the game.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While focusing much of their attention on boys, clothing, and spa treatments, the Charm Girls also exhibit ambition, drive, confidence, and an eagerness to take on challenging, difficult work.

Ease of Play

The game is very easy to pick up and play, with a very gradual difficulty curve.

Violence
Sex

There is flirting and competition over boys. All verbal.

Language

The girls use a lot of text-speak, such as "OMG." They occasionally insult their rivals, but not with anything profane.

Consumerism

All the Charm Girls Club games are cross-promoted. Secret codes unlocked in the DS games can be used to unlock features in the Wii game or on charmgirlsclub.com, a website that is plugged in both the game and the packaging materials. Also, real-world chain store Claire's Accessories features prominently within My Fashion Mall. The player's avatar both works and shops there.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this collection of minigames is housed within the framework of a working-at-a-mall simulator. Although the player's custom-made avatar doesn't buy anything, she frequently undertakes "personal shopping challenges" in which she helps friends purchase the best clothing and accessories. The storyline features a rivalry between two cliques of girls who vie for both accolades from the mall owner and attention from visiting boys. The competition between girls never goes further than slightly catty remarks. Charm Girls Club: My Fashion Mall's primary theme is hard work and responsibility, but the heavy consumerism of its shopping mall setting is impossible to overlook.

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What's it about?

In CHARM GIRLS CLUB: MY FASHION MALL, five teenage girls are recruited to help turn around a failing shopping center. They help each other out, working in many of the mall's stores, performing tasks such as making pizzas, serving coffee, organizing clothing, washing and grooming dogs, flipping burgers, and functioning as a personal shopper. The girls find out that a rival clique -- three other teens who call themselves the Queen B's -- have also been hired at the mall. Competition develops between the Charm Girls and the B's, not only for credit in improving the mall, but for the attention of boys who come to shop there.

Is it any good?

Charm Girls Club: My Fashion Mall offers the kind of storyline that fans of prime-time Disney and Nick tween shows are likely to find very engaging. And it's most likely the plot that will keep them playing. Either that or the chance to win new fashions for their avatars. There's a wide range in the entertainment value of the minigames themselves. Some, like sorting clothes into the proper bins, are pretty dull. Others, like several food prep games (which resemble those of Cooking Mama), are more enjoyable, but even they become tiresome when repeated as often as they are in My Fashion Mall.

What it comes down to is that pretending to have the kind of menial summer job teenagers get at a mall is not much more fun than actually having one. The most entertaining bits in My Fashion Mall are the creative challenges in which players are given certain constraints -- for instance, the character loves vertical stripes, hates blue, and needs a skirt -- and must then put together a suitable outfit. There's a very specific audience that will be drawn to this game, but beyond those particular girls, there won't be much appeal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appearance of Claire's Accessories in the game. It is the only real-world, brick-and-mortar business in a virtual mall filled with fake stores that only exist in the game world. Why and how did Claire's end up in the game? What is product placement?

  • This is an avatar game, one in which you can re-clothe and re-style your avatar as often as you like. Parents can ask their children about the clothing and style selections they make.

  • The restaurants in the mall serve burgers, pizza, and coffee, and these are the only foods and drinks in which the characters partake. Is this a healthy diet?

Game details

For kids who love simulation and fashion games

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