A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is targeted at girls who love fashion. The primary objective is to use beautiful models as canvases for a variety of customized styles. Girls will spend most of their time simply trying different outfits and accessories on these virtual woman, and may consequently learn a bit about what goes into designing clothes and how to match up their own outfits, makeup, and accessories. No real brands are seen, but there is a strong theme of commercialism thanks to the game's fake reality show and the fictitious brands that are displayed behind the catwalk and beside various products.
What's it about?
IMAGINE FASHION PARTY puts players in the role of a budding fashion designer who is a contestant on a fictional reality show that feels like a cross between Project Runway and America's Next Top Model. Each episode provides players with objectives, such as designing an Asian-themed look, before they set to work tailoring clothes, picking accessories, a working on hair and makeup. Players can choose from a wide variety of options, and are evaluated based on how closely their selections match what the judges were looking for. At the end of the episode, players control the model as she struts down the catwalk by either shaking the Wii remote and nunchuk or walking on the Wii Balance Board.
A multiplayer mode lets two players compete against each other as show contestants, while a third mode allows players to simply pick a model, dress her up, and watch her walk down the runway.
Is it any good?
Shallow themes of fame, fashion, and commercialism aside, Imagine Fashion Party had potential to be a fun romp for style-loving girls. The mini-games that make up each episode of the game show have some neat ideas. Players cut out fabric patterns by aiming the Wii remote at the screen and following cut lines, push pins into dummies by thrusting the remote toward the screen, trim off straggly bits of hair by moving the remote pointer along dotted lines, and apply mascara by holding the remote on its side and tilting it like a brush.
Problem is, these controls are unreliable and frustrating. The software often fails to pick up obvious movements, forcing players to repeat the same motion over again -- probably more hurriedly and less accurately as they to beat a dwindling clock. It doesn't help that play instructions often lack clarity, leaving the player to fumble with the remote until she figures out the proper technique. Making matters worse, some segments, such as the catwalk, are long, repetitive, and bland (one can't help but wonder what sort of fashion show would have models walking down runways over and over again wearing the same clothes, doing the same moves, and strutting to the same song). Imagine Fashion Party has a decent concept at its core, but it needed more time on the drawing board.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role of fashion in our lives. Why is it important to look good? What are some signs that a person might be placing too much importance on their own personal style? Did Imagine Fashion Party provide you with any insights to the challenges involved in the careers of clothing designers, cosmetologists, and hairstylists? Did it make you want to be on a reality game show?
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