Review: Dress Up! Time Princess

Due to my obsessive personality, I try my hardest to avoid gimmicky smartphone apps that try to suck up all my time and money, but one slips through the cracks every so often. I downloaded Dress Up! Time Princess on a whim, expecting to get tired of it after a few days and uninstall it, but then, it blew all of my expectations out of the water. This game is the most perfect combination of visual novels, dress up dolls, and gacha apps that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It has all of the best types of princess games rolled up into one. I've played other apps that offer individual facets of this one and got tired of them over time, but Dress Up! Time Princess contains so many different activities that it is impossible to get bored. It combines the best of technology with the best of femininity, something that Disney has been rigorously attempting to weed out of their own princess branding.

Fashions of Dress Up! Time Princess

Similar to the Choices and Lovestruck apps, Dress Up! Time Princess allows you to enter various storybook worlds, complete with their own collection of themed costumes and dreamy love interests, where you can make decisions that will drastically alter the course of the story. The biggest difference between this and other visual novels is that this game adds another layer of interactivity by requiring you to piece together the perfect outfit for each mission. If you fail, you must go back and collect materials to build more of the articles of clothing that the chapter requires. If you succeed, you learn more about the story and grow closer to the characters. Not only are all of the clothing items breathtakingly gorgeous, but this game also has some of the best graphics I've ever seen in a dress-up or visual novel app. Instead of still portraits, the characters are fully rendered CGI animations that live and breathe on the screen. When you dress up the protagonist, she twirls around and inspects her new look as if she were actually modeling it in front of a mirror. If you drag across the screen to rotate her, her gown and hair will swish in sync with the rotation. It's absolutely gorgeous.

This game is still fairly new, so there are only three story worlds to explore right now. Their first one you can play allows you to travel through time and enter the world of Marie Antoinette. You can dress up in her extravagant fashions while trying to change history and prevent the French Revolution from taking place. That's right--This multi-faceted game even has educational value! The potential love interests in this level include Marie's husband, King Louis XVI, the revolutionary French soldier Lafayette, and a Swedish count named Fersen who's absolutely crazy about you. Going back to levels you've already played and making new decisions will unlock new chapters and endings, giving you more opportunities to change Marie's fate. The second story I unlocked is a gender-bent version of "Aladdin," where you play as a runaway slave girl who enlists in the aid of a prince and finds a magic lamp containing a handsome genie. The story opens with a free Princess Jasmine costume and allows you to collect stunning Arabian fashions as you play through it.

One of the most common complaints I've seen about this game is how difficult it can be to obtain the clothing items you need to advance the story, especially after how deceptively easy the first chapter of the Maire Antoinette book is. I won't lie. This game is extremely addictive. Once you start playing, it's very difficult to put it down. Spending real money makes it easier to obtain items at a faster pace, but it is possible to earn in-game currency over time and get through the stories that way as well. There are a number of minigames that you must learn to master if you wish to play through all the story chapters. For instance, the game gives you a bunch of pet kittens that wander through the world collecting items for you. The characters you meet in each story will give you gifts if you spend time with them and make them presents that appeal to their interests. Some of the clothing pieces in the game come as blueprints that you must assemble in the boutique by collecting materials. This is the most time-consuming aspect that will force you to put your phone down for a while to accrue enough stamina to collect more items. The hardest thing for me was not collecting clothing, but collecting story points to unlock new books. You can only get story points by beating a chapter with a  "Perfect" score. There is only a finite amount of story points that you can collect because you can't repeat the same chapters you mastered for more points.

If you love princesses as much as I do, you need to download this app. It's part dress-up, part visual novel, and all princess-loving fun. The graphics, story, and interactivity are among the best I've seen in a smartphone app. I'm amazed that this game is free. I would gladly pay for something like this on Steam or PlayStation. It is a fully immersive experience that allows you to become whatever type of princess your heart desires and accumulate a wardrobe that would strike envy in even the queen of France herself. It's also one of the most addictive games I've ever played, so be sure to have a lot of time to devote to building up your dressmaking materials and relationships. Dress Up! Time Princess is the ultimate princess dress-up fantasy.


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