Top Stylist (iOS/Android) review
Top Stylist is a new iOS and Android game from Crowdstar. The game was formerly known as Closet Wars but has relaunched under its new name, presumably in an attempt to attract new players. It’s a free-to-play fashion design game that makes use of the GREE mobile-social network, and is available now from the App Store and Google Play.
In Top Stylist, players are cast in the role of a fashion designer and tasked with creating new styles for a variety of clients. Gameplay consists of earning money, unlocking and purchasing new clothing items, and finally fulfilling the clients’ requests. Each of these mechanics are very simple to understand, presumably in order to make the game appeal to younger or casual players.
Earning money is achieved through playing a Bejeweled-style match-3 minigame. Matching groups of three or more like-colored gems in a horizontal or vertical line by swapping them around rewards the player with in-game soft currency, with more provided for a single move that matches multiple groups or creates lines of four or more gems in a row. An energy system limits how much the player can make use of this minigame to earn money in a single session, though this may be topped up at any point with hard currency “Diamonds” or by leveling up.
In order to purchase new clothing items, the player must first use accumulated “Style” points — acquired either by leveling up or through in-app purchase — to unlock one of the game’s fictional brands. Once a brand is unlocked, the player may visit them any time to purchase a pack of three random clothing items from them using soft currency. Each brand specializes in a particular style of clothing, which comes into play during the “style” component of the game.
When entering the “style” section, players are confronted with three prospective clients standing around in their underwear. Each of them has a specific taste in clothes and a requirement for a particular number of “points” in that style. In order to satisfy them, the player must create an outfit for them using the correct style of clothes which earns enough points — each item has a particular “value” and the accumulated value of all the items the client is wearing must meet or exceed their requirements for the styling session to be successful. The player cannot just layer clothes atop the client willy-nilly, however — they must be dressed in an appropriate manner to be seen outside in, which means it’s not possible to send someone out wearing nothing but a really nice shirt but no pants or shoes. Similarly, this also means that players cannot simply put several pairs of pants on someone in order to push them over the point requirement threshold.
After the player has satisfied a client, they earn experience points and a cooldown for that client’s slot begins. Once this cooldown expires, a new client shows up and the process repeats. Cooldowns may be bypassed by expending hard currency.
That’s essentially all there is to Top Stylist. It’s not a particularly complicated game, and it has a number of issues which make it quite a frustrating experience at times. The main issue is that it’s impossible to know what clothes you’re getting when you purchase a “shipment” from one of the brands — there’s nothing stopping the game’s random number generator from repeatedly flinging the player packs of nothing but necklaces, for example. It would perhaps be more fun for players if they were able to pick and choose the specific items they wanted to purchase, thereby allowing them a much better sense of creating their own outfits rather than the random selections that are currently implemented.
Another missed opportunity is seen in the fictional in-game brands. A title like this is an ideal opportunity for the developer to partner with some real-world clothing stores and allow them to use the game as a means of advertising themselves and their new lines, but instead Crowdstar has chosen to go with made-up brands that bear a passing resemblance to a few real ones.
Finally, despite the implementation of GREE and the inclusion of a “social” tab, there seems to be very little incentive for players to play together. The game doesn’t have an official GREE community, doesn’t have any awards and doesn’t have a ranking facility. It also doesn’t explain why the player would want to invite their friends to play with them, as the basic game experience appears to be a mostly solitary experience. There is also no means of players posting pictures of their outfits on social networks from within the app — a facility which other, similar games make use of as a convenient means of viral promotion while allowing the player to express themselves.
In the end, then, Top Stylist is an overly-simplistic, rather shallow game that provides little incentive for players to return or to play together with friends, and thus one that can probably be safely skipped past.
A fairly unremarkable, uninteresting and rather shallow entry in the “fashion design” genre.