Fashion design, like mobile gaming, is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Fashion Star Designer, the sequel to Fashion Star Boutique, does an excellent job of melding these seemingly unrelated interests. In Fashion Star Designer, you can start your own line of fashion and design clothes for a variety of petite fashionistas.
Gameplay has two basic modes: client requests and creative design. Both modes allow for a great deal of creative expression, though some gameplay mechanics are more interesting and useful than others. The client requests serve as a loose story mode, where you’ll meet different clients and design outfits for them. Free requests appear at timed intervals, and premium requests can be purchased.
The requests are rather vague, with clients asking for a type of clothing like a fitted jacket or a short dress. Players then purchase a pattern, select the fabric and embellishments, and present the item to the client. Unfortunately, you’re not given any real feedback on your designs, and the clients are always satisfied. This allows great creative leeway, but removes the challenge.
Players can uncover their client’s taste through trial and error, or by paying a consultant with premium in-game currency. This game mechanic is not especially useful, though, since clients love whatever you make them, whether it’s to their taste or not.
Fashion Star Designer’s Creative Design mode is perhaps the best part of the game. In this fashion sandbox, you can manipulate previous designs, or create whole new ones. However, there is only one type of mannequin available, meaning you can’t design clothes for men, children, or women with curves.
Once designed, an item can be displayed (alone or with other creations) in the boutique, and sold to earn more in-game currency. Designs can also be shared through Pintrest or Facebook. Some designs get a production bonus, represented by purple stars. This is another gameplay mechanic that is prominently displayed but never explained, and seems to only impact the amount of the already plentiful silver coins earned.
All activity in Fashion Star Designer comes back to in-game currency. Like many freemium games, FSD has two types of in game currency, both of which can be bought when players run out. The silver coins are easy to earn, and are won for each design made and sold. The premium “gift card” currency is much harder to earn, making it difficult to unlock outfits and fabrics. Players can watch a short ad to earn either type of currency, though watching 30 ads only earns enough premium currency to buy the most basics packs.
Patterns, fabrics, and embellishments must be purchased, and when free client requests run out, new ones can be bought. Many items cost more to make than they earn. The fabrics and patterns bought with premium content are impressive, so be warned, this game could easily eat a hole in the pockets of enthusiastic designers.
Fashion Star Designer is not a traditional paper doll set. The wide variety of design options and the opportunity to share your pieces online make it fun on many levels. With more feedback on your designs, Fashion Star Designer could be the full package.