Bratz: Girls Really Rock - NDS - Review
You know, I get asked sometimes why I do review some of the games that come down the pipe. Well, the answer is pretty simple; while I like more traditional mega-hit games like Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, Dead Space and Fallout 3, I feel the need to still take a look at the games that are available for smaller children who, frankly have no business playing the games I just mentioned, but because I have small children, I want to know exactly what they are playing. Still, as a parent I think we need to be involved in what our children play, and while I don't have a daughter, I have a niece that lives with me and she acts as a sounding board when I get games geared towards girls. So I tossed this title at her and told her to play it and let me know what she thinks. See the last sentence of my review to hear what she said.
If you know the Bratz license, then you know its about four girls who, while seriously disproportioned, with their big heads, giant eyes and tiny bodies, are completely infatuated with fashion and style. Not something I normally can get behind, but something up my niece's alley. Well after letting her play it for a week and then trying it myself, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a girl, nor do I care about fashion and style. And you know what else? This game is no fun.
"Oh no! Her boots don't match her vest!"
Instantly I figured this would be a game in the vein of so many other music-based games that have come out recently. Not quite thinking it would be a Guitar Hero game, but maybe something "like" that with songs and music only in the Bratz universe. Nope. Apparently the things that make the Bratz girls rock is getting caught up in a quest involving running around and talking to various other boys and girls, collecting outfits and other clothing/fashion items and generally not really caring about all the war, death and disease going on in other DS titles.
As you run around, you end up switching characters as the adventure progresses, eventually playing as all four of the girls. Mini-games pop up as you play but neither you nor the little girl will really care at that point. Hocking your wares outside a concert does not normally make for fun gameplay. Ultimately you will end up at a talent competition, which is where you were going from the beginning, its the McGuffin of the whole game.
Since it is a DS title, you can play with either standard controls or with the stylus. Players will probably opt for the stylus since it is easier to navigate and control that way. And in a bit of a surprise, you can use the stylus to design your own clothes which is the highlight of the entire game.
Graphically the game falls apart, forcing 3D graphics out of the DS can be done, but it needs to be done by someone with a bit bigger budget and some love for what they are making. Flat, bland textures coupled with some admittedly varied locations don't help the cause. Neither does the sound, which is a weird soundtrack of pseudo-technorock/funk. There is no voice work which wasn't totally surprising yet for all the direct-to-video movies there are I kind of thought maybe the voices from those movies might make an appearance.
The thing that makes me the most jarred is that fans of the Bratz license may ask their Mom or Dad for the game as we approach the holidays and I can't, in good conscience, say to do so. Even if you like the Bratz, I think little girls (or boys I suppose, everyone likes different things) will simply find the game boring. It never catches your attention other than the fashion design section, but even that is too short and not built upon.
As far as my niece goes, she could not play the game for more then a few minutes at a time. She told me that she thought the game was "kind of dumb" and didn't like that it was so boring (a future reviewer in the making).
Review Scoring Details for Bratz Girlz Really Rock
You run around in the game getting this item then talking to that boy; it's been done before, and much better too.
Not good, probably would have worked out better as a 2D platformer.
I turned it down.
Little kids will have a bit tougher of a time, but not much; the game is really easy.
Been-there/done-that play mechanics, the umpteenth time a Bratz game has been made, there is nothing new here.
I just can't recommend this game, it is not much fun, not much fun at all.