America’s Next Top Model for DS Review

America’s Next Top Model has become one of those reality shows that somehow still manages to be on TV. I’m not sure if it’s because of Tyra, Miss. J, or Mr. Jay, or just all the nonsense in between. However if you are looking for cat fights, bickering, drunkenness, and an all around good time on this latest Nintendo DS game of the same name – look elsewhere because America’s Next Top Model for Nintendo DS is like Janice Dickinson’s face – no plastic surgeon can fix it.

You begin the game by choosing one of four different models and if you win, you are launched into a successful modeling career. You are just one modeling contestant out of 10 other girls. From there you will interact with other models, your boyfriend, and your coach; who will get you through the game and hopefully on the road to success. In ANTM you learn how to shop and dress like a pro, stay fit, how to walk the catwalk and become the next top model. Your character lives in a mansion with other aspiring models. Some are nice to you and some are not so nice, so you have to pick your friends wisely in order to keep your mood level up. However you may have that occasional ‘cat fight’ which only adds levity to the game.

While in the mansion you will be able to organize your schedule, check out the standings in the competition, and gaze at your gorgeous self in your portfolio. Like the Sims, you are required to eat and that consists of  fruit each and every day. No carbs for these pixel gals.  The competition is quite simple. Each week there is a different theme in the clothing you should wear from casual to professional. It is very important to be dressed in the theme at all times because you can be judged on style at anytime during the week. Meet the judges requirements and don’t get yourself eliminated and proceed to the next week – simple.

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Each day you must complete one out of the seven mini-games that consist of Styling/Dressing, Make-up, Hairdresser, Fitness, Photo shoot, Catwalk, and Catfight.
Photoshoot and catwalk are pretty mundane. Photoshoot requires you to make patterns against a timer and if done within the time limit – your model will strike a pose. Very realistic. Catwalk also requires the stylus and some tapping in-line with a beat in order to have your model walk appropriately on the catwalk or watch her stumble and fall embarrassingly.

Not that I’m a make-up artist by any means, but this mini-game proved to be the hardest for me. You have to match your make-up colors to the image presented to you. While it seemed easy in theory, shades of coloring where often off and it was hard for me to figure out how to apply the make-up properly since there was no clear instruction on doing so.

The graphics are pretty basic at best and didn’t blow me away in any sense. I also didn’t care for the controls of the game. Everything is done with the stylus which can become trying when getting your character from place to place. You also use the stylus for when you work out, purchase clothing and walk the catwalk. There is a tutorial before you work out and a practice run, the same goes for the catwalk and you can practice as much as you need. I would suggest doing the catwalk a few times because when Friday comes you receive points on style and how well you walk. Lastly, the camera angles are a little tough too. When you are walking your model, it is a little harder to turn corners or go up stairs when there is a second person on the stairs at the same time.

While America’s Next Top Model for DS could have really been a unique game utilizing the creative aspects of the show within its game by using the music, ingenious photo shoots, etc…Instead there is alot going on and yet every game day feels the same more or less. You just end up doing the same tasks over and over again to achieve the goal at the end. That said, certainly younger female gamers will be drawn to this game. But a rating of  ‘E’ is pushing it because the game is caught up in how fit you are, it’s all about your looks, having a boyfriend and engaging in catty conversations with other models. In a society when young girls deal with self esteem issues on a daily basis, certainly this is not the greatest example when your game character is relegated to eating only fruit everyday… Finally, one simple thing could have been added to give this game a reprieve and that would be the inclusion of Tyra- who is not here at all.  America’s Next Top Model for DS retails for $29.99.

The Good: Tries to include all elements of the show.

The Bad: No Tyra Banks. Repetitive gameplay becomes extremely boring. Missing the ANTM personality.