I had initially considered writing up a post with my short thoughts similar to what I do for E3/Gamer Christmas due to Twitter’s continued demise, but it did end up coming back up so I just did my usual Twitter thread, but there were some BIG announcements during it that have made this recent Nintendo Direct one of my favorites ever. If you haven’t seen the Nintendo Direct yet, I highly recommend it. I feel like there was really something for everyone and so many surprises.
I’m going to mainly focus on the games I am most looking forward to playing (though, if anyone wants me to expand on anything I mentioned on Twitter, feel free), but I just have a lot of feelings about some of the announcements, so this is a way for me to try and get that energy out while I
impatiently wait for these games to release, because unfortunately, none of them had release dates (besides this year in which I just hope they won’t all release at once).
First up, I want to start with Fashion Dreamer which essentially had my screaming. It looked incredibly similar to the Style Savvy/Style Boutique/Girls Mode series and I figured from the start, it was either finally Style Savvy 5 or maybe we were finally getting another Model Debut game localized (though, it didn’t seem like it). When it finished with the new name, I initially thought I was wrong or maybe it could at least be a spiritual successor, even if by an entirely new team, because the hype is still there and, honestly, more games like these are kind of falling to the wayside, generally being either romance or mobile-focused and not just… a fun dress-up game with a story.
Regardless, I was soon made aware that the game IS being developed by syn Sophia who is the original creator of the Style Savvy series. Which kind of makes me wonder why the name change– the only difference is it seems Marvelous (and therefore XSEED for the localization) will be taking care of the publishing this time, but considering the game is still exclusive to Nintendo, I don’t think it would’ve been a name conflict/copyright situation. Who knows, maybe they just wanted a new universal name as the Switch is Region Free.
Either way, I don’t care (I’m just curious)– I’m just happy to see it back in SOME form and it looks so good. One of the things I think Style Savvy suffered from with its three different 3DS games is each one sacrificed at least one really good feature, or some extended amount of customization, for a brand-new feature and while the new features may be nice, they were never enough to justify what we lost. With the Switch, I’m really hoping that the past games were looked into and a lot of those features I’ve long since missed will make a return alongside things I hope will be done better in the series overall, such as:
- Make up your mind on the time. Either do real time like Animal Crossing or have it so the date is wherever you start, but each day moves forward after. Or even Harvest Moon-esque time. Just not the “days pass but the month is the same”– the problem with this is that you could finish the entire story in the same Season and just… not end up seeing a lot of new stuff for ages because of whenever it launched if you play too much.
- More flexibility on what you want to do. Don’t limit how much can be done in a day and don’t force people to the next day either.
- More cameos! I love seeing the characters from past games.
- More commemorative photos! I always love seeing these, honestly, whether due to completing certain story stuff or just fun model things.
- There’s so many good designs across the games, I hope as many will return as possible.
- Just… don’t downgrade. If I could have 3 of something in a previous game, don’t make it so I only have one now.
- Bring back expanded customization for your own room/house!
- Bring back expanded customization for the outside of your store as well! …Assuming you still have one.
- Long curly/wavy ponytails exist, please stop making the only option a tiny short one. At the very least, it does look like this one may be covered (I hope we can still set different bangs separately! They at least showed a few diffeerent options on one screen):
- I also hope we’ll have a lot of options for hair at the start as the game usually is pretty lacking in this regard.
- I really hope the VIP Booth returns
- Fashion Shows be less obnoxious. I don’t expect the concerts to return, but I’d still like more catchy songs.
I’ve written reviews for all three of the 3DS titles, so if you haven’t played any of those or only one, feel free to check them out: Trendsetters (the second game), Fashion Forward (the third game), and Styling Star (the fourth game). If you do want to play these in anticipation for the new game, I’d recommend Trendsetters and ONE of the other two depending on which has more features you like. Not enough changes overall for me to really recommend playing both unless you really want to– they feel less like a sequel and more like Sister Games. While Trendsetters felt like a proper sequel, the other two felt more like experiments for what other features they could do.
One thing I was quite happy to see is that it looks like you can also play as a guy this time! I know of so many different types of people who play and it’s nice if they let people have a more masculine option if they prefer, maybe even going the Animal Crossing: New Horizons route in that regard (though, I hope we’ll still have some customization options to tweak things to fit us best). This should also hopefully mean there will be plenty of new masculine brands as well as I know many people wanted more when we could finally sell clothing to male characters as well.
The online feature also seems interesting. I hope we’ll be able to see people from all over the world for one, but I think being able to just “Like” someone’s outfit to get items in your closet is a nice way to build it up without necessarily making yourself broke.
In general, I’m not much of a fashion-minded person. I don’t know what’s in, I don’t know what a fashion faux pas is (which is probably the thing I failed most at in the game because it may tell me what labels describe things, but I still have no idea what a fashion do and a fashion don’t is), and I’ve always been a “wear what I like” type of person. Even in the game itself, I often would mix and match several brands: Marble Lily (The Lolita brand) alongside the Gothic Lolita brand and the brand for essentially Modest, Elegant, and Girly clothing.
What really made the game for me is getting to enjoy the dress-up function while not compromising my own style for the most part. So many fashion games constantly require you to spend your money on items you maybe don’t even like to just barely pass a challenge and Style Savvy is a series that is just so much more flexible. Any item you buy for your shop is given to your closet for free. Your outfit is always set (and remembered for times you do have to change it)– you just help other customers find outfits.
The look of the town reminds me a lot of how it looked in Fashion Forward and I love that it seems we can freely walk around for once over just… zapping places (though, as someone who still frequently gets lost, I’d appreciate some quick travel option too). I’m really hoping there may be other places we can travel to again as well, even if it’s more simplified. If we have this much freedom to move, I’ll be so sad if there aren’t any cutscenes.
It looks like they are really taking the amount of customization options to the next level as well along with giving you many more color options at a time. I hope it’s not as convoluted to unlock color palette stuff in the game as it has in some of the past ones. I also hope that not too much of the regular gameplay and many of the pre-existing items are sacrificed for the customization feature. Customizing can be fun, but it rarely manages to capture all the existing items in it.
If you haven’t checked out the trailer yet, here it is below for your convenience:
I hope we’ll have a release date for the game soon as I feel like it’s exactly what I want right now to just… play a game where I’m not stressed 24/7.
Next up, I want to bring up some Level 5 stuff…
First, Fantasy Life is finally getting a proper sequel!
I loved this game so much and while there were times the grinding could be pretty rough, it’s one of the few of these types of games where I truly maxed out everything I could. Being able to play with friends made it even better.
While I’m a little concerned about how much you need to set-up this town (I am in the group that much prefers things already being set up and done with and we just add on to it, not build it back up) and any kind of terraforming due to how Animal Crossing: New Horizons ended up falling rather flat for me in the long run, I still have such a soft spot for this game series and am just excited to see the story continue in a way that isn’t a mobile game.
And second… Professor Layton is back! One thing I noticed especially is there were so many Detective/Mystery games as part of the Direct which is really exciting! But I will admit of all of them, Professor Layton has my heart the most.
The game is really special to me and I bonded with a lot of people from it. I even went to Japan for the movie when it first premiered and was in the top 50 of the Layton World puzzle campaign for Layton’s Mystery Journey.
I love the story, I love the characters, I truly love the puzzles. I love that it’s an ACTUAL puzzle game and not a strategy/RNG-matching game that just gets slapped with that moniker despite it not actually fitting. The game even seems to be picking up after Unwound Future which I’m really excited for. I think the original trilogy was its strongest and to be honest, just giving us more adventures of Professor Layton and Luke was all we ever really needed. We didn’t need to go to extreme lengths of backstory. I do hope Flora will be remembered though, even if she isn’t traveling with them. She really got the short end of the stick between not even showing at the end of the movie and everything with Katrielle… Where even if Layton and Luke were gone, why was Flora just completely MIA?
In general, I think most people had mixed feelings about Layton’s Mystery Journey. There’s still a lot of questions with both Alfendi and Katrielle in the end (even if we got some answers for her in the anime) and the game itself ended on a cliffhanger that only really got answered in the anime… in a solution that I think may be the weirdest yet. The pacing was strange, but I suppose that was an issue with the game as well due to having multiple contained storylines before trying to have this big twist and surprise at the end.
For the most part, when it comes to story and puzzles, I don’t have too many expectations. I’m excited to see what happens (though, if there’s no slide puzzles, I’d be thrilled). My only concerns are really in the sense of any post-game. I haven’t really enjoyed the daily puzzles from the more recent games because it’s just… the same puzzle over and over slowly going up in difficulty, but I just got burnt out. It didn’t vary enough for me to stay interested. I don’t really care for the daily puzzles.
If they do anything like that again, I’d love to see a return of London Life which I genuinely found a ton of fun. Maybe a little less picky with certain things, but it was just a really enjoyable time and I’m still really happy with how my character and her room came out.
Either way, I can’t wait for the next part of Professor Layton’s story. Hopefully it won’t make me cry too much.
While Fashion Dreamer and Fantasy Life are both currently dated for 2023, Professor Layton and the New World of Steam currently doesn’t have any release date at all. I don’t mind waiting– I waited this long, but I just hope we hear more soon for all of them.