You start playing the game as Jade, an intern for a fashion magazine. As the story progresses, Jade is given tasks to complete by the magazine editor, or conflicts to work out. There also seems to be a secondary storyline running around a juice bar that the girls frequent, but I'll get back to that in a moment. The point behind Jade's being an intern at the magazine is that she and the other girls are looking to start their own fashion magazine. That's the basics of the plot. As it plays out, Jade and the girls travel around the globe to from New York City to London.
You know you're making progress in the game because as you pass points, you'll unlock new outfits for your girls. In each chapter there is at least one mini-game that you have to get a certain score on to pass through the chapter. In the opening of the game, for example, you have to help make smoothies at the smoothie bar. The customer's order comes up on the screen, and the ingredients go by on a spinning turntable on the side of the screen. Clicking on the right ingredient adds it to the blender. You have to mix the ingredients together for the correct length of time as well. And, of course, to increase the challenge level of the game, the spinning table moves faster as you pass each level.
Which brings me to the difficulty of the game. Keeping in mind that this game is designed for young elementary age girls, not for adults, helps me not feel quite so bad about the number of times that I needed to play the same mini-game over and over again before getting a high enough score to pass. My reflexes aren't quite as fast as my daughter's is, and this game is definitely one where quick reflexes are a plus. I can tell that it is a game that was originally designed as a console style game that has been ported over to the PC, but only in a few of the mini-games does this become clear. The game is completely mouse driven, which fits with the idea that it was originally designed for a console.
In another mini-game you have to put together specific outfits for your boss for her trip to London. You need to match her list of clothing requests, and at times this isn't as easy as it sounds because of how similar the pieces are. In another chapter, one that my daughter liked best in fact, you are actually designing a magazine page layout. Her favorite feature, and an advantage to playing the game on the PC, is that you can print out designs in places like this during the game. Where I see the number of possibilities very limited, she's gone back to these same mini-games after unlocking them over and over again to design magazine pages, logos, and outfits.
Its a girl thing. Which is a good way to sum up the whole game, as I think about it. This is definitely a girly-girl type game. Its fashion, its design, it is everything little girls used to do with fashion dolls on a computer, in other words. So far she's played the game for a few weeks, picking it up off and on during her alloted screen time. It isn't always her first choice, but it is one that she comes back to often when other games have been played recently.
The interface is easy to interact with, and helps her progress easily through the story. One of the best features as far as I'm concerned is that the dialog between the characters can be both read and listened to. This helps her as a young reader practice her reading, but doesn't require her to read just to play the game. It is a game she could have played even if she wasn't such an avid reader, in other words.
Overall we've both been pleasantly surprised at this particular Bratz game. I was happy that the game isn't all about girls with attitude, and thus isn't teaching my daughter to have more attitude. And she, of course, is happy that she's getting to play Bratz, Rock Angelz.
The “glory days” of computer gaming for me were when games like Spectre Supreme, Pirate’s Gold, the Might and Magic series, the original Prince of Persia… those sorts of games were coming out on a regular basis. Back then I owned a Macintosh and was a die hard Mac fan. I was one of the first in my area to buy an iMac and on it learned the joy of playing games on the internet like daily crossword puzzle and “mind bender” type puzzles. My first online RPG was given to me for Christmas the year EQ was released, and I was hooked from day one. I played EQ for about a year. I started playing DaoC during late alpha testing, and was hooked on it.. well, to be honest I still am. I’ve tried pretty much every MMORPG I can get my hands on, from big names like EQ, to more obscure ones such as Underlight. I’ve been writing for IMGS since the first DaoC guide, and find I love the challenge of learning a game and presenting what I’ve learned (and sometimes my opinions), to other players.
I’m not a very strong player as far as learning PvE or quick reaction times, so I tend to stay away from games where I’m pitted against someone else in a way that requires physical (rather than mental) response. I still enjoy story and puzzle games, and in a way that’s how I still approach online games. I would much rather spend hours working through a quest than 5 minutes in combat against another player. I still get lost in simulation type games, obsessing over them until I’ve gotten them beaten. And I like being able to sit down at the computer when I’ve got less than half an hour and playing through a few levels of a puzzle game. I tend not to like first-person shooter type games, or anything with person to person violence, so I steer away from them unless they are fantasy based settings. All in all, I enjoy computer gaming so much that my life feels incomplete somehow when my computer is down.