Before Style Savvy let DS and 3DS owners play dress up and run a shop, finding dress up games could be rather difficult. The titles would be geared toward younger audiences. Some would even be very rudimentary and only focus on the dressing up and clothing collection elements. There was one title that stood out, and that was Angel Collection: Mezase! Gakuen no Fashion Leader on the Game Boy Advance. Instead of focusing on fashion, this series offered an opportunity to do more. You could win over friends with your style, spend time with them to acquire more items and perhaps even win contests that increased your fame and expanded your wardrobe.
In Angel Collection, players follow a young woman who wants to be a fashion icon. Fortunately, she is in the right place at the right time. There are contests being held where the right fashion choices can propel her up the social ladder. Naturally, before this can happen, you have to collect various pieces of clothing, kinds of makeup and hairstyles. Your goal is to be prepared for any sort of fashion trend, be it girly, sporty, bohemian, sophisticated and quirky. So, how does this happen?
Naturally, the obvious methods of increasing your range and adding to your closet are present in Angel Collection. Every once in a while, you will get notifications on your phone. These tell you when the shops in town have new clothing or makeup options. When you get a notice, you stop in to visit and get the new item for free. There are also fashion competitions. Win, and you earn stuff. But this is only one way to succeed. The other is with the power of friendship.
Yes, interacting with the other characters is critical to your success. There are five students you can befriend, named Ayumi, Hikaru, Minnie, Moe and Sophie. Each one has a certain style. Ayumi is girly, Hikaru is boho-chic, Minnie is sporty, Moe is quirky cute and Sophie is sophisticated. When you dress up, you aren’t specifically targeting certain looks. Instead, two circles appear on the screen. The combination of clothing can make it an outfit up to two other characters would like. Your goal is to dress to meet certain schedules, earn people’s favor and perhaps get them to like you enough to give you more clothing.
See, each day you spend time with people in Angel Collection. Time passes as you hang out. During the school day, different people appear at certain spots on certain times. The second period of each day even involves a minigame, with Ayumi having a cooking class, Hikaru a rhythm game, Minnie a free-throw contest, Moe a mole-whacking moment and Sophie a memory game. Talking and doing well increases your friendship. If they like you enough, you can hang out on the weekend. If your weekend adventure goes well, you get to play a slot machine minigame. Think of this as leveling up your friendship. Getting all three hearts on that slot machine gives you a full outfit in that character’s style.
It is interesting, because Angel Collection requires a sense of balance. You need to manage your weekly schedule, so you spend time stopping by restocked shops, getting to know your classmates and hanging out with them on the weekends. When you dress, you have to put together ensembles that would not only look good, but impress the people you are hoping to spend time with that day. Getting to know people is the key to improving yourself, and it is an interesting way to make a game about dressing up more involved and engaging.