Perhaps I need a “girlie games” category for this blog since I clearly have 2 games for such a category in as many days. If you’re unfamiliar with the Bratz franchise, good for you! To fill you in, they’re sort of a band of junior skanks marketed towards young girls. They seem to be universally reviled and condemned by parents yet wildly successful nonetheless. Naturally, they have a game or 3 in their massive merchandising repertoire.
What kind of game is on offer in Bratz: Rock Angelz? I think you could qualify it as a team-based RPG with an assortment of innovative minigames, not unlike an entry into the blockbuster Final Fantasy franchise… or perhaps I’m just trying to make lemonade here. The story goes like this– one of the Bratz girlz gets a dream internship at a fashion magazine working for a demonic editor-in-chief (umm, The Devil Wears Prada, anyone? except that this character was not quite as restrained in her delivery as Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestley). The internship is predictably a nightmare as the character faces her two arch-nemeses — who have also been hired on in higher ranking positions — and has to perform menial chores unrelated to the core of her fashion interest. She eventually gets fired — the details are a bit fuzzy but I think it’s because the girl failed to properly screen out the editor’s junk mail — and the rest of the girlz get the bright idea to start their own fashion rag. So they rent an office that turns out to be a rat hole. So the next adventure is to go shopping in order to properly decorate the office space…
And that’s really all I could handle, seriously. I got to chapter 4 (out of 9 chapters). Some of the chapters are adventures where you guide the girlz around rendered sets and interact with characters and surroundings. There is a little exploration element here, but mostly the goals are pretty cut and dried. There is generally one over-arching quest for a particular chapter, but with a number of sub-quests within. These often involve helping other people. For example, the salesgirl at a clothing store is depressed because she can’t get up the nerve to talk to Eitan, the totally hot guy who works at the smoothie stand. So one of the girlz plays match-maker between the 2, and then the salesgirl finally has the spirit to help the Bratz girl in her quest. The game did not offer a “complain to manager” icon.
Wow, I can’t believe I explained that shy-girl scenario in such detail. It should be noted that, in contrast to typical adventure games, the conversations in this game are almost uniformly good-natured, even when the other character has nothing of note to mention. Typical games will be all like, “What do you want? I thought I told you I’m busy!” Where this game is totally like, “Hey, what’s up? Nothin’ much? That’s cool.”
Interspersed between and throughout the chapters are assorted minigames. Things like blending fruit smoothies to spec or picking out the editor’s clothes for a trip. Here is a minigame pertaining to doing a layout for the fashion magazine:
I didn’t really try, and I don’t think it was possible to lose. Success at the minigames is rewarded with an upgraded wardrobe that can be changed out at anytime during the 3D adventure portions.
Think that’s a ridiculous detail? To be fair, it’s difficult to criticize Bratz for this outfit selection feature. More serious games have been doing this for years, notably in the Resident Evil series. Certain of these games have special unlockable outfits for the characters while other franchise games allow the player to customize the outfit at the very start (as seen in this screenshot).
Soleil Moon Frye serves as voice talent on this game. Turns out there is life after Punky Brewster. Checking her IMDb credits reveals that there is another Bratz franchise game — Forever Diamondz. Ugh, it just doesn’t end. I get the impression that everything having to do with Bratz must have some plural word in the title so that the pluralization can be spelled with ‘z’.