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I Love Beauty: Hollywood Makeover Package Art
City Interactive
City Interactive

I Love Beauty: Hollywood Makeover

Sometimes, parents just want a game that will keep little Michael busy for awhile. Maybe something so you can cook dinner in peace, or something to toss in the backseat on those long road trips. But with more and more girls becoming gamers, particularly casual gamers, it's now little Emily that needs something to do.

Enter I Love Beauty: Hollywood Makeover, where players take on various salon duties of makeup and hair care to beautify the rich and famous of its vague Hollywood backdrop. I Love Beauty provides about 20 individual hair and makeup applications. Players take on a client, read a grammatically questionable and unnecessarily long dialog of the customer's story, and run through a set of duties. Most sessions begin with a hair wash and dry, followed by some brushing or curling, a few makeup applications, and some finishing touches with nails or jewelry. Successful sessions lead to new customers, eventually unlocking other makeup colors and slightly different game modes.

All of the gameplay takes place in various closeups with the customers, who have a nice style that is animated but realistic. While the look is simple, it's one of the highlights of the game, providing a nice polish. Players then use the stylus to simulate and complete the different activities, for example, coloring an eyelid on the touch screen to apply eye shadow. All of the tools look clean and crisp and, with few exceptions, goals are easy to understand. A help option on each procedure gives a visual description of how to move the stylus, and an example shows how the finished product should appear. After each application, players are graded on accuracy.

Most activities involve coloring -- applying lipstick and eyeliner are basically the same, just with different body parts acting as the canvas. Nail polish is similar, but adds a small addition of blowing on the DS microphone to simulate drying. Washing and drying uses the same motion of grabbing the faucet or dryer with the stylus and running it over the hair. Hair straightening and curling also use identical motions. Adding jewelery is not skill based, but just a visual compliment. The same goes, of course, for the many color options available on all the makeup.

So despite any variances, every activity is immediately repetitive, which quickly turns them into chores. Really, it's less a flaw of the gameplay and more a flaw of the premise. Only so many makeup procedures exist in real life, and not many new challenges can arise from eye shadow and foundation. To entertain for more than half an hour the 6- to 10-year-old girls that I Love Beauty is geared, they would need to be highly enthralled by the subject and easily captivated at the idea of creating different makeup combinations, or perfectionists that need that five-star rating.

Unfortunately, ideas that could have made for a better game would not have worked for the intended audience. Sim aspects such as managing the beauty shop and it's customers as a business would create a richer experience that could still provide the beauty-themed minigames. But that would make I Love Beauty too complex for a young crowd, converting it to an even smaller niche audience of adolescent gamer girls that enjoy very girlie games.

Ultimately, it's that combination of small subject matter and small target audience that keeps this game from reaching its goals. I Love Beauty tries, but road trips with your daughter will be annoying as ever.

final score 4.5/10

Staff Avatar Dave Magliano
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"Tiger uppercut!!"

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