Makeover fun with Nintendo DS games from Ubisoft













The Pea is at that age when makeup is just beginning to interest her. And I don't just mean trying it on -- she's been painting her nails and smearing on eyeshadow and lipstick since she was two. Recently she's asked me whether she can wear makeup to school and ballet class! Imagine what the teachers would say if a third grader came to class looking like Ivana Trump. It goes without saying that I nipped that idea in the bud.

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally fine with The Pea experimenting with hair and makeup. In fact, she's got her own little kit with lip gloss and nail polish and eyeshadow and a hairbrush and mirror. I just don't want her going out like that! Fortunately Ubisoft recently sent us two games that let The Pea indulge in her current makeover obsession on the Nintendo DS: Imagine: Salon Stylist and Style Lab: Makeover.

The Basics
Imagine: Salon Stylist is a Nintendo DS game that lets players run their own beauty salon. In the game's background story, you are a salon owner; the goal is to get clients to keep coming back and attract new, celebrity clients -- all of whom give you "money". You please clients by giving them the hairstyles and makeovers and treatments they want, greeting and treating them nicely. Successful makeovers earn you money that you can spend on salon decor and use to unlock new hairstyles and accessories that will make you even more successful.

Style Lab: Makeover lets players create avatars of themselves and their friends, and experiment with different makeup and hair styles. You use the Nintendo DS's camera to snap a photo of yourself so that you can match it as closely as possible to the available face shapes, skin tones, hairstyles, and facial features. You can complete makeover challenges to earn points that can be used to unlock more makeup colors, tools and styles. Unlike the Imagine series, Style Lab: Makeover does not have a story game component (there's another game for that: Imagine: Makeup Artist).


The Bongga
These two games are The Pea's current favorite! The story component of Imagine: Salon Stylist is secondary to the enjoyment she gets out of playing with the hair and makeup tools. She loves putting makeup on her virtual face and her friend's virtual face, and she loves experimenting with all the different hairstyles. And she loves styling The funny thing is that 3Po and Jammy also like playing with these games! I think they like using the stylus to do things like cut and straighten hair, or trace the outline of a virtual model's lip in order to apply lip liner.

The Blah
Both games are harmless fun, so I really don't see anything wrong with either of them. If I had a complaint, it would be that Style Lab: Makeover doesn't let girls take a photo of themselves and make over their actual face. They just use the photos to help create an avatar that resembles them.

The Bottom Line
Imagine: Salon Stylist and Style Lab: Makeover are two great games for young girls that let them indulge in all the hair and beauty makeovers they can think of. Parents will like it because there's no mess -- no need to buy gallons of makeup remover, and no need for that quick trip to the hairdressers to fix an unauthorized haircut that has gone tragically wrong!


I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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