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I’m not the target market for My Make-Up. I’m not a nine year-old girl bored to death with no other means of entertainment and no method of social interaction. That doesn’t prevent me from knowing what does and doesn’t make for a good video game. If you read my recent review of this game’s counterpart, My Dress-Up, you’ll already know the verdict. It’s the exact same bit of slag, but on a face instead of on the body.

If you are unaware of the unfortunate DS products made by Oxygen Games, you may look at this game’s cover and think it could entertain your child for a while. Perhaps they could have fun playing with make-up in this game instead of obliterating real tubes of designer lipstick and bottles of foundation you bought at Sephora that cost the same as a new car. You’re almost guaranteed to be incorrect. They’ll probably have more fun putting postage on your outgoing mail or changing the household lightbulbs.

The game has a fairly appealing outer package, like any DS game geared towards kids. Fun, happy, cute, exciting… misleading.

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Specifications:

My Make-Up

Makeover, Pamper or Face Paint yourself and your friends, or check your messages to see whose makeover dreams you can make come true!

With brushes, colours and creams, face masks, hydrating fruits and face paint palettes; you’ll try out new styles and techniques, and be awarded new colours and stencils to try out on your friends. Check your inbox for messages, give yourself a makeover, or visit your friends for makeover and pampering practice. Do makeovers for parties, weddings and special events, pamper your skin with facial treatments, or invite up to 3 of your friends to a makeover party, via DS Wireless Communication.

Save your favourite makeovers in your photo album and send them to your My Make-Up friends, or to friends with My Dress-Up for a complete new look. Sit back and chat with all of your My Make-Up, My Dress-Up and My Secret Diary friends with exclusive ‘MyGames Chat’ over DS Wireless Communications.

Release Date: 07 November 2008

Formats: DS

Age Rating: 3+

Just like its other My Games counterparts, My Make-Up has limited appeal only slightly greater than doodling on a Post-It while talking on the phone with grandma. Booting it up gives you an immediate taste of what it has to offer – static gameplay, badly rendered 2D graphics, sloppy controls and inexplicably sluggish performance.

You initially create a character to learn how to use the game. The irony is that in doing so, you are playing nearly the entire game. That is to say, there is no game. It’s a five-minute process of putting makeup on a cartoon that you can repeat over and over again, or put down and wonder where five minutes of your life went that could have been better spent standing in a closet with a bag over your head.

There are a few modes: Makeover, Pampering and Facepainting. Makeover is the real heart of the game. Pampering is a joke, as you just throw some cream and cucumbers on the girl’s face then wash it off. It’s a 20 second process that has no use. And facepainting is just silly.

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When you perform a makeover, you are first given the ability to structure the dame’s face. You can choose her eyes, nose, hair, and the other usual suspects – even her birthday, favorite color and favorite animal – which of course have no relevance to anything. You follow this by giving her lipstick, blush, mascara, hair colors and highlights. Then you’re done. You can save a picture of your completed makeover if you wish, and then you move on. Nothing else happens. The whole game is the preface to a story that doesn’t start.

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The game attempts to formulate bits of purpose via the “Messages” section of the game, where various people will tell you they’re going out to some random event and they need you to perform a makeover so they look totally glam. Accepting a friend’s request takes you straight back to the same makeover screen where you go through the same process. No matter how horrible you make them look, they like it. There are no guidelines or requirements for how to tackle the makeover. The type of event doesn’t matter. The person doesn’t matter. Just make them over and move on – that’s the nature of the game.

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When putting on makeup, the stylus doesn’t respond very well. It’s a bit slow and it never really feels like you’re “drawing” on the girl’s face the way you are supposed to be. The control makes it very difficult to end up with the girl looking anything less than ridiculous. Though they are cartoons and don’t look anything like real people, so I suppose it really doesn’t matter.

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In classic O-Games style, there is almost no sound in this game. The sound effects are weird (kiss noises, little chimes) and don’t always sound like anything related to make-up (the sound it makes when you apply blush sounds like rain-soaked galoshes treading down a tile hallway). There is no music ever, so you play the entire game in silence outside of these minimal sound effects.

There is also an unreasonable amount of lag when playing. Pictures will at first load with a “?” and then turn into a girl’s face. Choosing different mouths or noses for your characters will show up for you to see on the top screen several seconds after you make the selection in the menu. I can’t fathom any reason why a tiny 2D cartoon image would take that long to load. It’s just crude static images. Sometimes the lines aren’t even straight on the figures – they appear jagged and pixely. Putting on blush looks like the girl is trying to grow a beard.

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Like My Dress-Up, this is merely a badly designed character creation screen like you’d find in thousands of other games. The only difference is those other games have something to do with your character after you make them, and aren’t the entire game. My Dress-Up and My Make-Up should have been one title if they have to exist at all. The fact they are separate and run a mad $30 each is beyond comprehension. Sure, you can link the two with wireless DS connections, hold “makeover parties” and apply make-up to your dress-up characters and vice versa, but so what? There’s still no reason to be doing so, and the act won’t be entertaining.

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Conclusion:

It’s really just a shame the My Games exist, and My Make-Up is another example of why. $30 for the ability to color a cartoon face with unresponsive controls in a sluggish game is outrageous. Making a game out of character creation with nothing for the character to do is pointless. Girls can use their imaginations in the real world better than in these games. They’re not the ones getting made up, nor are their friends. They’d be better off with a $1 coloring book and a box of Crayolas if they want an even greater experience than this game has to offer.

Pros:
+Ummm… pretty colors?

Cons:
-Everything else.

Grades:
Overall score-2-10
Design score-2-10
Performance score-2-10