The folks over at CrowdStar have just soft-launched two new games on Facebook: It Girl and Pop Boom. We’ll have a review of the latter, more arcade- style game later, but for now we’ll take a look at It Girl, which follows a more traditional social game style.
First noticed by Social Game Central, It Girl tailors to a different, and more niche, demographic than most of CrowdStar’s other titles. While past CrowdStar games have been more or less, gender agnostic, It Girl is solely centered around the teenage and young adult female audience. Built in an almost MMO-style, the game centers itself around city life and the collection of the hottest new outfits. It’s certainly a different concept from other female-oriented apps (e.g. Mall World), but the originality, which isn’t always a bonus on Facebook, doesn’t detract from our opinion of the game.
Players start out smack dab in the “big city” and it’s up to them to make a name for themselves. Walk about the city streets, meeting the avatars of other users, and ducking into stores for a little shopping is the core of the game, with the key aim of raising one’s “hotness” to new levels.
In the store, there are a variety of racks, shelves, and counter-tops to physically search. Upon doing so, players will discover different clothing that they will be able to try on, buy, and wear. It’s set up similarly to some treasure hunting titles like Treasure Madness, in that each store has a collection of clothes that can be discovered and bought. Of course, here, there is no tangible reward for completing a collection.
What does matter with clothing is the style and rarity level. Each article of clothing has a number associated with it that creates the user’s hotness level. The higher the number, the rarer it is, and the “hotter” it makes the player. Full ensembles consist of everything from tops and dresses to glasses and legwarmers.
This is where the first social element comes into play, as player avatars visible wander about the world. They talk and chat about their clothes and what not, but what they really equate to is competition. That in mind, players can challenge them to a Showdown, which is essentially a hot girl fight. Winning the “duel,” so-to-speak, will earn moderate experience rewards, while losing reduces one’s confidence level, which is basically health. Having more clothes in one’s closet a large “Clique” of friends also augments the results.
As for earning money, players will receive a small amount as they search the stores for new outfits, but the core way to earn income appears to be through quests. These consist of visiting a friend, buying X amount of items, and so on. Unfortunately, it’s a bit unclear on how to do some of them, perhaps in part because It Girl is still in alpha testing.
The best example of a quest involves meeting a friend at a party. This is one of the first quests, where the user discovers an invitation on a flyer out in the world. In order to go, one must first don the proper attire, which is broken up into categories such as Outdoors, Black Tie, Nightlife, and so on. Each item of clothing has an icon that represents which of these types of events it is appropriate for.
Due to the alpha testing mode, there is one other major features that is currently not working: the overworld city streets don’t exactly run optimally yet. In fact, the game runs horribly slowly at the moment, and has led to many a browser crash. Of course, this will likely be fixed soon enough. Beyond these two noted issues though, anything else is very minor (e.g. images not showing up).
Even with the existing bugs, it’s easy to see how It Girl would appeal to the female demographic. It really does feel like shopping, and the hotness competitive element, coupled with these party events, gives the process more of an objective beyond just trying to look aesthetically nice.
In fact, that’s one of the major points of merit for It Girl. Without claiming any real knowledge of fashion, we can say that most of the outfits are pretty well designed, and even the low rarity items look gratifyingly good. Additionally, there’s a nice bonus where players can talk with the wandering NPCs who will either praise or laugh at one’s apparel.
All in all, It Girl looks quite good for such an early stage. As it is in alpha, it is still riddled with a number of bugs, with the most detrimental being the unbearable optimization within the overworld city. Hopefully, that’s one of the first fixes on the list, as it makes the game very difficult to test when one can barely get from Point A to Point B. Nevertheless, CrowdStar will certainly remedy this, and many other, issues in the near future, and once running optimally, it would be surprising should this game not do well.