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Bratz: The Movie
Score: 79%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Blitz Games
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ Rhythm

Graphics & Sound:
Bratz: The Movie looks pretty good. The girls look and sound like they should and all of the areas are bright and colorful. While I am not a Bratz aficionado, I did run this game by my friend, Allie, who is a Bratz expert, just to make sure it reflected the Bratz license properly and it got a thumbs up.

Since the Bratz are all about fashion, it stands to reason that this would be the main focus of the game as well. While there aren't an incredible number of locations the Bratz can visit, what's here is cute, stylish and fun and should look familiar to those who played Bratz: Forever Diamondz. The Bratz can visit a number of different shops to customize their clothing, adopt a pet and select the pet's wardrobe, change out shoes, hairstyles, make-up, ringtones, you name it.

The Bratz girls have catch phrases, but they are repeated all too often and get tiresome. Music from the show is included and you can learn the different songs by visiting the Academy. You also unlock new ringtones and such by completing tasks, but more on that later.

Bratz: The Movie places you in the role of one of the four Bratz girls: Cloe, Sasha, Yasmin and Jade, as they go about their day completing tasks and getting their magazine issue put together. You'll begin in the Bratz office, where you'll go to save your game or check the progress of your magazine. Of course, the office area is the height of style! While here, you can also switch Bratz as you'll have to play as all of them as each girl has different tasks to accomplish to complete their portion of the magazine.

As you venture out into the Mall or the Fashion Promenade, you'll bump into friends (and sometimes enemies!) who will give you tasks to complete. Some are side quests and some are needed to progress with the magazine. All will yield you Blingz, the money in the game, which you'll need to buy new clothes, shoes, accessories, treats and clothes for your pets, jewelry, ring tones, backgrounds for your phone, and anything else you might want to buy in the game - and there are a ton of things to buy in this game.

Some tasks might be as simple as having your pet win a pet competition. Others might involve designing and then marketing a piece of clothing. Still others might just be gathering information. When it boils down to it, however, they are all just fetch quests. You can be involved in one quest and take on another, which is fine, but at times, you may not get the info you need out of someone because you are still on the other task, as far as the game sees. That's a bit annoying.

So the girls have to juggle schoolwork and the magazine and their arch-enemy, Burdine Maxwell, happens to be teaching the design class this semester, so she'll be making things mighty tough. At one point, she had my character running to catch up to her in the mall, requiring me to run to three different stores to finally catch up. That also was a bit annoying and silly.

There are 25 tokens located throughout the areas for each Bratz girl to nab and these tokens will get you movies or special artwork which you can then see in the art gallery. You'll need to use your pet to locate these tokens and you do that by giving him/her treats to keep them happy.

You always have your cell phone camera handy, so you can snap pictures of things. In fact, you can't live without your cell phone because it serves as your info hub. Here, you can locate a certain shop, communicate with your friends and keep track of your tasks. While I sometimes found that I wasn't sure what to do or where to go next, the interface was workable.

Probably the most fun I had in the game was designing outfits. You can select the fabric, style, color and pattern/imagery to go on the outfits. I wished it had been a little more fleshed out, but what is there is fun. Plus, once you design a piece of clothing, its there for you to wear whenever you want.

Difficulty in Bratz: The Movie mostly comes in the form of aggravation. There are points where you have to don skates and either race with someone in a mini-game/task or race around delivering things. I found the handling and control while on the skates to be bloody miserable and opted just to run around in heels as quickly as I could.

Tasks are fairly simple to complete, they merely take patience. You might have someone write in needing advice, so then you have to run around Stylesville polling your friends, to see if they have helpful info. Again, not so much a difficult task, but more of a frustrating and time-consuming task. But at least you have no time limit on tasks to complete them. The craziest one was spying in on someone talking to themself and others. There was a sneak-meter that alerted you if you got too close. Cloe looked mighty funny tip-toeing up to her friend Dylan to spy on him.

There are several rhythm mini-games involved, such as pressing the correct button patterns to make your pet do tricks or performing music you learn at the Academy, but its all fairly basic. If you have the patience, you can easily get through Bratz: The Movie.

Game Mechanics:
One thing that grated on my nerves in Bratz: The Movie were the continual load screens. While they weren't long load times, they were often. Every time you selected a different task or area, boom, you got to see the blingy Bratz: The Movie load screen.

Another detractor for the game was the control. It seemed backwards to me. When I wanted to rotate my character around, turning right on the analog stick had the opposite effect I was used to. Mainly, this is just something I had to get accustomed to, but it seemed atypical of this type of game.

You'll use the (X) button often as the action button and you'll forever be clicking the Triangle button to access your cell phone. Contacts will send messages to you and they can be random or required tasks. You can send a friend a message to simply find out where they are hanging out, so you can talk to them for needed info. You'll run around the mall and the fashion promenade visiting various shops to buy goods and while you're out and about, you'll pick up Blingz laying around on the ground. Once you've completed a task, you'll jet back to the Bratz office to save your progress. I did find it frustrating that I couldn't save in the middle of a task, however. What if you need to stop playing?

I'm definitely not the target market for this game, but for a fan of the Bratz series, its an almost winner. It's not quite long enough and not as good as the previously released Bratz game, but it will probably show up on many a tween's Christmas list. If you are unsure, rent it first.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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