Style Savvy is a Nintendo IP which has been around since 2008 and seen four games in that time. It's been three years since I fell in love with the series' Style Savvy: Trendsetters and I have not been disappointed with my purchase of SS Fashion-Forward, or the newly released, SS Styling Star. Though, I know that the Style Savvy series is good, it's time folks all put some respect on Style Savvy and acknowledge it as the good shit that it is.
What is a Style Savvy?
Style Savvy, beneath all of the fuss, is a fashion simulator with light tycoon elements. In every entry, players take on the role of a young woman who is given ownership of a small boutique in a town which just happens to be really into fashion. Most of the game is spent serving customers who wander into the shop by giving them the clothes which best suit their style preferences.
Though that may sound tame, Style Savvy's trademark is absurdity. Style Savvy Fashion-Forward's story line involved the protagonist magically shrinking to the size of a doll and transporting into a miniature world, without batting an eye. In SS Styling Star your character is responsible for dressing a series of pop idols who have full-length musical performances in-game. And this is to say nothing of the myriad of outlandish situations and conclusions the customers come into the boutique with. Style Savvy exists in a world where fashion can solve anyone's problems or magnify them.
Fashion Madness & And the ol' Min/Max
Style Savvy's fashion mechanic relies heavily on a garment's qualities in regards to several categories: type of garment, color, pattern, and aesthetic. When characters come in they will typically want a specific type of clothing like a skirt or blouse of a certain aesthetic such as, feminine, girly, gothic, bold, etc. You then have to find something that fits their criteria as well as being in their price range. This is where Style Savvy gets interesting for me because there are a few ways to play with these mechanics.
Method #1 is straightforward, you dress people well and within their price range and your town is filled with fashionable people with great outfits. But, as long as you pick something that fits their basic criteria, you can dress people however you like and they will wear it. I'm dead serious. Anything. Horizontal striped shirt under a vertical stripe sweater? Slacks under a party dress? You bet. And it is quite a sight to behold when the entire city's population is walking around like that. But, it's also the best way to maximize profit per client. This leads to a hilarious, though certainly unintentional, bizarre comment on fashion culture. As long as you, the boutique owner, suggests it, the people will wear it proudly. This is how I play the game.
The third and final method is to sneak in expensive items that don't show in an outfit. You can dress up a person entirely in a full length dress and put shorts and stockings underneath and they'll wear it. If you have a shirt on, you can put another shirt under it. Again, as long as it's in their price range, the patrons will wear it, even if it makes no sense. It's bizzare and extremely compelling.
As You Like it
2017, the best year in video game history, had a focus on customization and vanity. Gamers scrambled to collect the best clothes, and shaders, and skins in the biggest releases of the year, even in the single player games. The pageantry of cosmetic items in video games have become a huge motivation in games. Turns out, grown folks and kids of all genders like to play dress up. Style Savvy is unabashedly about the pageantry. 90% of the things you can do are for vanity alone and there's a dedicated screenshot button built right into the game.
The game can be about being a good fashionista and giving good fashion advice. But, it can also be about jacking people up as much as possible and watching them at a high society ball with yellow booty shorts on. Ultimately Style Savvy is a video game that exemplifies the uncanny nature of games. It's realistic in some ways, and in others, totally off the wall bonkers. And I love it. And people who want to know more about video games and what motivates people to play them, should respect Style Savvy as the good shit that it is. Did I mention the developer, Syn Sophia, is best known for their wrestling games? Somehow it seems fitting.
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