A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While it's refreshing to have Lisa help her father build furniture, most of the game has her involved in stereotypically "girl" activities.
Positive Role Models
Despite her prediliction for stereotypically "girlie" activities, it's almost impossible to call Lisa anything but a good role model. She's possibly the most responsible child ever depicted in a video game. She happily helps around the house, takes care of her younger siblings, and tries hard to excel at pretty much everything.
Ease of Play
All the mini-games are designed very well in order for younger children to not only grasp the rules and controls, but to be able to do well. There's a well-plotted distinction between the three difficulty levels.
Products & Purchases
Lovely Lisa is a popular doll and toy line in Japan, and while the game introduces American children to the Lovely Lisa dolls and even has a photo gallery that shows the history of the doll line in Japan, there is no outward sales pitch.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lovely Lisa doesn't only exist in the world of this video game -- she's a popular Japanese doll as well. However, Lovely Lisa and Friends never appears to be trying to sell Lovely Lisa toys (which are not even readily available in the U.S.). Parents should also be aware that, among the many, many activities that Lisa can try in this game, most perpetuate gender stereotypes (taking care of children, cooking, shopping, doing laundry, putting on makeup, walking the runway of a beauty pageant, etc.), although a few don't such as helping her father build furniture.
Is It Any Good?
There are some aspects of Lovely Lisa and Friends that are absolutely great. With dozens of mini-games to choose from, there's a ton of variety -- and all those games are well designed for young players. The fashion design mode is a wonderful creative outlet; you can draw your own patterns onto clothes with the stylus, or you can capture real-life pics with the DS camera and place them onto clothing.
At the same time, though, it's hard not to be distracted (at least for an adult) by the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with a young girl cooking, caring for children, or even applying eyeshadow, but the game also contains some refreshing non-traditional activities, like the furniture building and Lisa's volunteering at the police station. It would have been nice to have a bit more of the the non-gender activities to feel more balanced. To sum it up, this is a very well-made game that could bother some parents with its themes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.