Tuesday, November 17, 2009
All 3 of my kids love making necklaces and bracelets. There's just something so calming and therapeutic about stringing beads and charms onto a string, and when you're done you end up with something pretty and unique and personal to wear. They started out when they were very young, sliding huge plastic beads onto pipe cleaners with their chubby 18-month old fingers, then graduated to plastic pony beads.
The beads have gotten smaller and smaller as they grow up (now they can work with seed beads, elastic cord, wire and crimping tools). And now they're delighted to find that one of their favorite craft activites has gone virtual with the introduction of Ubisoft's Style Lab Jewelry Design game for Nintendo DS! It was just released a couple of days ago and we were lucky to receive an advance copy to play with and review.
Style Lab: Jewelry Design lets players create their very own pieces of jewelry, try the jewelry on photos of themselves, and upload the jewelry to the web, and order an actual copy of the jewelry for them to wear. Players can choose from game mode (where they pretend to be the owner of a jewelry shop; the goal of the game is to design the perfect piece of jewelry for the customers who come to their shop and earn money so they can buy more beads and charms to use in future jewelry creations), or they can enter a free play mode and design whatever jewelry they want.
The Pea, of course, loves this game; it's her third favorite Nintendo DS game (next to Imagine Salon Stylist and Style Lab Makeover). Even my two boys, 3Po and Jammy, love playing it! They like stringing real beads so it's not a surprise they like this as well. I'm impressed with how Ubisoft really got it right and created so many games that really appeals to girls' interests! It's so much fun to create jewelry, and so much easier to plan it out virtually than to struggle with the real needlenose pliers and crimp beads and such. And since you can actually order your finished creations, you get all the satisfaction of a finished product.
I really love how this game utilizes the best of the DSi's features. You can use the Nintendo DSi camera to take a photo of yourself, then "try on" the jewelry you made in the game. You can use the wireless feature to share designs with friends who also have the DSi and their own Style Lab: Makeover. Best of all, you can even upload your design to the web and order the actual bracelet that you design! Unfortunately we haven't gotten a chance to upload any of our creations to the Style Lab or order them, but you can bet this is one feature that we'll be trying in the future -- and when The Pea's jewelry creations arrive, you can bet I'll be posting photos on this blog!
I have to admit I'm a bit daunted at the thought of getting everything set up to be able to order the kids' jewelry creations off the web. I took the first step -- creating an account at www.stylelabgame.com , but it seemed like just another online site for kids, and I couldn't figure out where I could actually order and pay for the jewelry. I wish Ubisoft would include clearer uploading and ordering instructions!
The Bottom Line
Style Lab: Jewelry Design is the perfect combination of virtual gaming and actual shopping. I would definitely recommend this game as a present for an 8-10 year old girl -- along with a gift certificate to the Style Lab shop, so the girl who receives this game can also get a real copy of the jewelry she designs!
I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.