What constitutes a game for women, anyway? Does it have to incorporate some socially acceptable symbol of femininity to be considered as such? Or does it have to subscribe to a specific set of genre conventions? The answer will vary depending on who you ask, but one thing is always a constant: the fact that there will never be a shortage of games out there that rely on tired tropes, and Fashion Hazard falls somewhere within the threshold between pandering and a creative attempt at hooking a demographic.
While it does assume female players are interested mainly in exploring the runway as a model, it’s not completely devoid of skill, and while it still feels as though it’s trying a little too hard to relate to female players (or at least what it feels female players should be interested in) it’s a decent attempt at an endless runner that functions quite well. Just don’t expect the polish or charm of the several other releases in the genre.
Who needs coins anyway?
You take up the mantle of a model who’s powering her way down the runway, collecting coins along the way and swiping the screen occasionally to avoid obstacles. Guiding your model is accomplished through tilting your device left and right, while swiping will make your model leap into the air to avoid oncoming debris on the endless catwalk. Models and environments are rendered in 3D, and it’s simple enough to learn, but it feels rough in execution as well as a little condescending, especially the bonus “photo-ops” that appear if you leap into the air and hit a special star, which finds you snapping photos in time to each flash. Most of the time you’re guiding your character down the runway, but these special segments happen quite often for more skilled players.
Navigating your model from left to right feels smooth with the occasional hiccup, especially once you’ve sped up a bit, and it’s prudent to ensure you complete each stage in the allotted stage time, as finishing too early or not completing your walk on time will result in a lower score. You’ll be able to earn achievements along the way as well, which is normal for games such as these, but sometimes the arbitrary achievements seem a little lofty when it comes to how often you’d have to play the game to obtain them all.
Thinnest arms award…
For a game about attractive models, however, the rendering on each character isn’t actually very appealing, and can even feel a bit jerky when there’s a lot going on during the game. There are four models to choose from, each based in a different global location, but what’s the use in creating a game all about superficiality that simply doesn’t boast decent visuals? For this type of game it seems as though a slick, cartoony aesthetic would have been a much better fit– like the kind seen in the Mattel “MyScene” Barbie line.
For a bigger budget release from CondÃ© Nast, you’d expect a lot more polish than what is exhibited in Fashion Hazard, and it doesn’t feel as though the potential here is being met. While it does attempt to offer an alternative to “typical” casual games for women, in the end there’s no real discernible reason that any player, female or otherwise would choose this over a game like Temple Run or even a better clone. Fashion Hazard is acceptable, but as far as endless runners go, players of either gender can do better.