Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen! is a mobile game wherein the player dresses up the titular character, Nikki, to progress through the plot of the game. The game is divided into chapters, each of which contains several challenges Nikki must complete before moving on to the next. Each challenge requires Nikki to dress in a specific style of clothing fulfilling two broad categories of styles, such as Gorgeous, Elegant, or Warm; sometimes the game instead requires a more defined tagged category like Classical Chinese clothing or even a single specific outfit. Once fully dressed, Nikki competes in a dress-up duel with another character; both characters score points based on the statistics of their clothes, and the character with the higher total score wins.
Obtaining new outfits is really the crux of Love Nikki: the number of different garments and accessories in the game is approaching ten thousand, and new outfits get released practically weekly. The most common methods of obtaining new clothes are buying them from the store and constructing new ones using clothes you get as drops from completing challenges. There’s also almost always an event running where by playing some sort of minigame – often just lucky draw – you can obtain new clothes that typically have a very appealing design and high stats. There’s one major problem with the event outfits, though, and it’s pretty easy to guess what it is since this is a F2P mobile game.
That’s right: gems, the game’s premium currency. Though the game gives away some daily premium currency for tasks the player is likely to perform anyway, the offerings of a few dozen gems per day don’t feel like much once you realize getting all pieces of an average event outfit – which typically comes with a unique pose for Nikki and high statistics – can take thousands of gems to obtain.
The game has some annoying UI issues: putting together an outfit can take a while once you start to have something in every garment category and browsing your clothing collection becomes an absolute pain once your collection starts hitting the upper hundreds. The plot of the game is also hampered by its distractingly poor English translation, causing both confusion and unintentional hilarity at times.
So why do I play? Well, the clothes are a big attraction: some garments I wish I had in real life. The hilarity of the game mechanics is another reason. As stats don’t correlate with the appearance of garments, the best tactic is just to use the highest-ranked garments you have in every single item slot: this means outfits with the strongest possible statistics in some specific category often cause me to cackle due to their random, smashed-up-aesthetics appearances. And though there are competitive elements in the game, it’s not really about success in the end – just relaxing and pleasing the hoarder side of my brain.
Developer: Paper Studio
Release date: April 20th, 2017 (International)
Available platforms: Android, iOS.