What little girl doesn’t think they are a budding fashion designer and what better way for them to test their skills on the girliest girl of them all – Barbie. Barbie iDesign is a CD-Rom game that requires no fancy computer to run on or an internet connection. Just pop the CD into your PC and the game will install and after 10 minutes your tween will be able to let loose their inner fashionista. The game package includes the game CD, 60 Fashion Cards, the Style Slider, and a vinyl plastic case to hold it all.
What sets this game apart from being just your average CD-Rom game aimed at girls and fashion is the Style Slider. It’s a small pink device that connects to your PC via USB to accept the fashion cards, and what you do with it is truly unique. Once the game is installed and you are ready to play, the first place you go is the design room to design your outfits. This is where the fun really starts. First you choose a model card that is included with the 60 fashion cards and swipe it into the Style Slider. If your swipe was successful you will see the model dressed in undies, appear on your screen as well as a red light glow from the Style Slider. Card by card you can slide in different tops, bottoms, dresses, and accessories. Cards slide very easily as if you were swiping a credit card to purchase the clothes.
As you slide the fashion cards through, they appear in the game one by one and sort into different areas on the screen, either where dresses go or where the tops go and so on. Once you slide in all the clothes you want, you can then start mixing and matching to your hearts content of what top, jacket, bottom, or shoes you want to see on your model. You can not save a model that isn’t dressed or use her in a fashion show later on in the game, so you better dress her properly. No half naked models are allowed in this game.
You can dress 5 different models including Barbie, and when you are ready, you can set up a runway show to show off the best fashion collections of what you have put together. If you don’t want to slide all the cards into the game at once or ifÂ you want to get an idea of a complete outfit because the cards are see-through, you can easily lay a fashion card with a top over another with a bottom and shoes to get an idea of what the look will be before actually swiping the cards into the game. The combinations are endless and more packs can easily be purchased to add to your collection to make hundreds of styles.
Once you have finished putting together outfits, you can then move on to putting together a runway show. You get to decide what top outfits on which models will walk down the catwalk. So you have up to five models that can walk the catwalk wearing your selected combinations. You can even design the set of the show – whether it has a red carpet, an island, or even a club theme, along with the appropriate music that you can choose too. After you set the stage, the show begins and the models will strut their stuff, pictures can be taken to be used later for a magazine.
After the fashion show you get to relax in an exclusive lounge. Putting together a fashion show is a lot hard work, so what better way to kick back and relax then to hang out in a cool pad where there are other activities to play instead of dress up. This part of the game doesn’t really have a whole lot to do but it’s entertaining as well. You can re-watch the runway show on the plasma inside the lounge, pet the dog on the couch, play a game of cards using the fashion cards, or create a magazine. Creating a magazine is really the most interesting part of this area. Remember I said you can take pictures of the models as they walk down the runway? Well this is what those images are used for. You can use either the runway shots or images of you models in their clothes. You can style the front cover of the magazine and add cool titles of topics of what could be in the magazine as well as other nice touches. The best part is it can be printed out and be shown off to family and friends to show what a budding designer you are becoming.
Overall, Barbie iDesign a fun interactive game that will keep tweens’ and young girls busy for hours just making combinations out of the different clothes and accessories available to them. Another aspect of the game worth pointing out is the the music. It’s obvious that Mattel went to great lengths to have a really pumping soundtrack. Wherever you are in the game you can change the radio channel and get a different style of music. If you love dressing up Barbie then you will love this game because it takes the whole experience of ‘playing with Barbies’ to a new level. It’s like having 5 barbies to play dress-up with along with tons of outfits, and you never have to worry about cleaning it all up and putting it away. You just have to turn the computer off.Â Barbie iDesign retails forÂ $34.99.
The Good: Great computer game that allows kids to showcase fashion ideas and create ensembles. The runway is a nice touch and the music keeps the game upbeat and fun.
The Bad: Would have liked there to be a feature to make custom clothes from scratch – perhaps in future versions