Dress to Play: Cute Witches is a game that got me based on reading about its premise alone on its e-shop page. The idea was to have a dress up game made for young girls that is about earning new items through gameplay. It mixes the appeal of mixing and matching clothes and accessories to create your ideal yet ads some actual gameplay elements to it so you don’t get bored in less than five minutes. Of course, to most grown adults, the idea of a dress up game sounds incredibly cringe worthy and childish, but there are still some older women such as myself (and some men) who can appreciate the cute appeal of it.
While the premise sounds good on paper, it is not fleshed out nearly enough to satisfy anyone but little girls. The main reasons for this are that, despite the game being inherently deeper than the dress up flash games you can find online, there is still not enough depth to the gameplay to hold one’s attention for very long. Don’t get me wrong, this game can still make a decent time waster for some, but it isn’t going to be enough to satisfy those looking for a deep gaming experience.
Gameplay in Cute Witches is made up of two different modes. The first of these is the dress mode in which you customize the appearance of your character. You are given the options to choose between your character’s skin shades, eye color/shape, hair style/color/shape, her shirt/top, her skirt/pants/bottom half, socks, shoes, and hair accessories. The game’s art style successfully makes your main character look cute, which in turn makes the dress options more satisfying to experiment with.
What makes this more enjoyable is the way that you unlock new dress items by completing in game challenges. Most of the challenges are rather simple tasks such as staying alive long enough, collecting a total cumulative amount of stars throughout your entire playtime, or simply playing the game long enough. Despite the lack of creativity with these tasks, it is still a nice touch that makes you feel as if there is progress to be made, and it also makes it more satisfying to get a new dress option.
Despite the dress portion being enjoyable to fool around with, assuming you can enjoy these types of things, the game suffers from a lack of variety in options for doing so. For example, a lot of the clothes options you get are just the same as something you already have except a different color. While it does feel more satisfying to gain more options to customize your character, a lot of satisfaction and replay value is taken away when you have so few options. In regards to other presentational values, the in game graphics are decent. The sound effects are well place and the music is catchy and pleasant to listen to.
The other gameplay mode in Cute Witches is an arcade style side scroller, where you ride your broomstick similarly to a 2D shooter, and try to avoid obstacles while collecting stars and hearts to power said broomstick. Your power meter drains over time, but it will also drain further whenever you hit an obstacle, so you need to outlast the game as long as you can. There is no real ending to the game and the goal is to just get as high of a score as you can and stay afloat.
While the gameplay here is simple, it is still effective at what it does. The game is designed in a way where you need to pay attention to what you are doing to avoid getting hit and collect stars. The game never seems unfair and it is one that you can better at with enough practice, and can be a fun time waster.
Dress to Play: Cute Witches was fairly enjoyable if you keep in mind that it was intended for young girls, and that it’s only $2.00. It serves as a decent time waster for any older people who happen to enjoy dress up games. Young girls (and maybe some boys) will probably enjoy this game far more. I say this mainly because games tend to be harder for them, so the process of gaining more clothes and accessories will likely be longer, and thus feel more satisfying.
The main premise is something that I would really like to see more games try. Specifically, it would be nice if there was a game like this with deeper gameplay and a much greater variety of dress options. Cute Witches on its own isn’t bad though. It definitely provides fun for a short time and is worth the $2.00 it costs, although it is more likely to be enjoyed by kids than adults.
This review was originally submitted to GameFAQs on November 6th of 2015 and has since been updated with enhanced presentation.
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