A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn a bit about how a business works and the skills it takes to run one -- scouting out trendy products, maintaining stock on popular items, and designing an in-store aesthetic that attracts customers. Kids are fully in charge of their boutiques' finances, deciding when and where to spend their money (which also means there's some basic arithmetic involved in the game). And of course, there's plenty to learn about fashion -- kids learn to be creative within the restraints of complementary colors, styles, etc. Style Savvy lets kids run a fashion business while also encouraging them to create their own unique clothing styles.
Almost every character in the game talks about the importance of appearance. Customers talk about brand loyalty a lot, and although they're speaking of imaginary labels made up for the game, the message still gets across that name brands mean better products. On the positive side, there's a lot to take away about planning, responsibility, and budgeting money.
Positive Role Models
The main character (an avatar of the player) is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of role modeling. She (it's always a girl) is smart, responsible, ambitious, and industrious. Yet she's also fashion and make-up obsessed, though decidedly less so than the supporting characters in the game. In the end, she comes out on the positive side.
Ease of Play
A player with bad fashion sense will do poorly at first. Clash your colors and you're only going to elicit negative responses from characters. But the game is designed to help you easily see what you've done wrong and provides understandable tips on fixing your mistakes.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bikinis, miniskirts, and bare-midriff shirts are among the fashions you can choose. Girl characters talk about the dreaminess of a handsome millionaire characters.
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Products & Purchases
The game is all about buying, but there are no real-world brands represented within the retail copy of the game. However, designer clothing lines will be available via download. The 2009 fall line of Charlotte Ronson is the first line available.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Style Savvy is a fashion game that focuses on putting together pretty outfits and having virtual models try them on, but that it is also a business simulation, and as such can impart many lessons about responsibility and money management. There is nothing offensive in the game (unless you find the whole concept of the fashion world offensive, which some people do). Parents should also be aware, though, that the in-game markets, from which players buy new fashions for their shops, change their stock daily, and occasionally have one-day-only specials. This factor can entice kids to play the game every day, in order not to miss something.
Is It Any Good?
Style Savvy is a surprisingly in-depth game that goes far beyond just playing dress-up. The player is a business owner and must juggle the work and responsibilities that comes with managing a business. The game is also neatly set up to impart tips on how to play better by mixing and matching the right clothing elements and keeping up with the latest trends in the game's own fake fashion magazine. When you manage to put together an outfit that your virtual customer really likes, it's a strangely rewarding experience. A lot of effort went into the design of the game to make it as realistic a fashion-industry experience as possible (what other game has you scouring the booths of trade shows to find new products for your store?), and it shows. Fashion games may only appeal to players with very specific tastes, but if your child is one of those people, she or he will get a lot out of Style Savvy.
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.