The late great comedian Gilda Radner once said “I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch”.
Haha, as I get older I tend to agree. Don’t get me wrong while I’m no clothes horse or walking fashion plate I do want to look good! Who doesn’t?
When I came across “Dress Shop Hop” from “Playfirst” I thought it would great, like having the coolest set of paper dolls ever! Umm…not so much.
I'm not used to getting stuck in time management games, but after just a few levels of “Dress Shop Hop”, I was ready to pack it in! Oh! I really wanted to like this game… and I did… in the very beginning but then it goes to pot. In other words, “Dress Shop Hop”is one challenging game. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
“When in doubt, wear red.”
The main character of the story is Bobbi, who is a sewing machine mechanic and is fed up with slaving away for her mean fashion designer boss.
While out shopping in Dinertown with her pals Flo and Quinn (who all of you “PlayFirst” fans out there will recognize as the stars of “Diner Dash” and “Wedding Dash) they convince Bobbi to open up her own clothing shop.
Of course, she listens to her predecessors. After all they both have rather successful businesses themselves you know! She decides to open up the world's first automated, made-to- order clothing shop. The shop is full of machines, which Bobbi invented.
Bobbi borrows a few pages from Flo's Diner Dash handbook on how to run her own place, so the game is basically set up to be the fast food version of clothes shopping.
SideNote: For awhile restaurant type time management were popping up everywhere now many casual games are focusing on the retail side of the fashion industry instead such as “Fashion Craze”, “Fashion Fits”, “Fab Fashion” and “JoJo’s Fashion Show”.
“What a strange power there is in clothing.”
Now here’s where you come in, you will help Bobbi run the business by making clothes custom-ordered by the customers by using a set of wacky machines in order to make the exact clothing request.
Much like other time management games, where you move the customer to their “table”, in this case, the “table” is a mirror called the Analyzer that helps the customer decide what clothes they want. Then you have to go to the fabric machine called the Patternizer to get their color fabric and take that to the sewing machine that makes the clothes. The final step is into the Doodazzler which gives the clothes some pretty funky patterns.
From plain-colored shirts to wacky-patterned skirts, help each customer find exactly what they want…but don’t forget to accessorize. In later levels you'll be also able to sell shades, belts and shoes to your customers for extra cash.
You meet your daily goals by earning the amount shown on the top of the page. That money does not help you upgrade your equipment, the tips you earn will be what is used for upgrades. The tips are small spools of thread that will roll on the floor when a customer gives you a tip.
“If you are not in fashion, you are nobody.”
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Each customer is unique and each has their own little quirks. There are the moody teenagers, the trendy women who always order whatever's on the mannequin, the accessory-obsessed shoppers, women who order two things at a time, and the movie stars who brighten the moods of everyone around them, if you keep them happy that is. Each customer has a color. You score bonuses by matching customers with the same colored analyzing machine, just like the color seating bonuses in Diner Dash.
“It's fun seeing my label on someone's behind - I like that.”
As you can imagine some customers are pretty impatient at times (and I thought hungry people were nasty!) but the good news is if somebody storms out in anger you will not lose points! Except for when the fashion designer, Marco Down, storms out. He will cost you 100 points each time he leaves, he can make or break a level. So whatever you do be sure to keep him happy because it’s hard enough to earn points in this game.
“I don't do fashion, I am fashion.”
As you may have guessed when the customers come pouring in, it’s easy to click all the wrong things.
Thank goodness “Dress Shop Hop” prevents you from going completely stir-crazy by only letting you pick the right color material and the right styles. If you accidentally click on the wrong colored material (one that no one has requested), it’s no biggie because there are only 4 colors to choose from, so chances are the next customer will request it or you can store it on a hold rack until someone does.
So what’s the problem with all of this? Sounds pretty easy, right? Well it’s a lot more difficult than you’d think!
For starters, the machines take forever to do anything and the customers get impatient quickly.
Second, Bobbi can only hold one item at a time, which seems strange since she clearly has two hands. Thirdly, the game also doesn't let you cue up commands by clicking ahead.
“Shopping tip: You can get perfectly good shoes for 85 cents at a bowling alley.”
So by the time you reach the second chapter of the story, it’s difficult to complete each level. As it is, it’s frustrating to have to play the same level multiple times and still not be able to complete it. No matter what I tried at times- chaining, collecting color bonuses, loading customers with beverages to keep them happy - nothing I did was good enough to achieve even the minimum goal, and forget about playing the game on Expert!Get Dress Shop Hop Here
Eventually I did scrape by however, by repeating the same level many, many, many times.
Y’know there's a fine line between a healthy challenge and utter frustration, and “Dress Shop Hop”seemed to cross it more often than not.
But to be fair I will admit the gameplay did get a little easier in the later levels when Bobbi expanded her stores to Europe and you started with slightly better equipment - it's just getting there that's the frustrating part!
So pilgrim, think you’re up for the challenge? Well then go try “Dress Shop Hop” on for size today!