Jojo's Fashion Show:
Scissors at the ready, ladies and gentlemen. Your favourite fashion designer is back with JoJo's Fashion Show: World Tour, the latest in the style-swapping time management series, this time developed by iWin. This time around, JoJo's daughter, Ros, has finally struck off to pursue her own career, leaving JoJo in need of a new assistant. After some rather unqualified applicants, she settles on Hayley, a young and talented designer hungry for success of her own. But is Hayley really as sweet and devoted to JoJo as she seems? How far is she willing to go to get to the top? And will you care? Probably not, since it's hard to get very riled up about a story that plays out with three pieces of dialogue or less in between stages. But you don't come to JoJo for life-changing drama, and what she lacks in story depth she more than makes up with the fast-paced fashion matching you've come to enjoy, now in brand new locations. And yes, it's faaaaabulous. Mostly.
As JoJo travels around the world, it's your job to assemble the styles she needs on each stage, picking out appropriate pieces for your models before the time runs out. Above each model's head is a tag displaying the style they're to be dressed for, and clicking on it will bring up a list of qualifiers that will help you pick and choose from the clothing items at the bottom of the screen. Dress your models as closely to the style rules as possible to rack up the points, and get at least a three star ranking to continue.
Along with the styles you're familiar with, World Tour appropriately enough introduces fashions from all over the world. Urban Rasta, Amsterdam Street, Royal Casual... all of them are appropriate for the regions you'll unlock them in, and they add some much needed variety to the lineup. The ability to create your own pieces before each show is also surprisingly well done. You can choose from multiple clothing styles, patterns, colours, and more to help score big on the runway.
The updated look of the game winds up being a mixed bag of hits and misses. It's not simply a matter of change being bad, since the new, bigger, more detailed pieces of clothing are welcome. However, the character design feels a little unbalanced, placing the stylised appearance of the main characters alongside the uber realistic (and a little frightening) models. JoJo's new assistant, Hayley, is also rather spectacularly unlikeable, mainly due to the snotty tone of voice used for all her commentary. Admittedly, this is mostly on purpose for the story, but it doesn't help you from gritting your teeth whenever she opens her mouth while you're running late on the catwalk.
Analysis: Somewhere inside me, possibly buried beneath a pair of frayed blue-jeans and several mis-matched sets of scuffed sneakers, there's a fashionista shrieking to get out. Which is not, of course, to say that I create anything that anyone would actually wear in the JoJo series. Something about stringing together competent outfits that don't actually make your eyes bleed in the series' trademark bright, beautiful style is just very satisfying.
This hasn't changed with the third installment. JoJo's playing it safe by changing only her aesthetics, and in fact, even the photo shoot levels, which were introduced with the second game, have gone the way of the dodo. You're shackled to the runway for the duration. Since this gameplay is precisely what appeals to most fans to begin with, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave World Tour feeling a bit like it should have been an expansion rather than it's own game.
In fact the biggest "problem" with the game might not even be a problem at all, depending on your point of view. It's just far too easy now to get a five star show without even trying. Slapping together an outfit that gets the highest rating just because it matches the bare-bones criteria of the style doesn't feel satisfying. And while the clothes do look better there's also less of them. Fewer pre-made pieces for each style means it's a cinch to make "signature outfits" previous titles in the series had you crossing your fingers for.
World Tour doesn't change much in JoJo's tried-and-tested formula, but is that such a bad thing? The core gameplay has never been a problem with those for whom it appealed to, and while the new look was mostly unnecessary, it does help keep things fresh along with the new styles. If you don't like JoJo and her particular brand of fashion-oriented gameplay by now, World Tour probably won't make a convert out of you. But if you're already a fan, the third in the series is a welcome addition that will keep you busy. Just be prepared for the oddly pleading eyes of the wooden-postured models to follow you into your nightmares.