Like many people, Bratz was a staple in my childhood and teenage years. Owning the first edition Cloe doll in 2001, watching the Starrin ‘n’ Stylin’ film in 2004 and dancing to the Space Angelz music video in 2005 and playing the original PS2 games, in particular Rock Angelz, Forever Diamondz, and The Movie in 2007 was somewhat revolutionary for me.
Bratz: Flaunt Your Fashion
November 4, 2022
Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One/Series X/Series S, PC
These games had a lighter tone that took me to an open world adventure where I didn’t have to worry about levelling up or mastering control combos. Just a way to express my creativity through the games, including Rock Angelz, and I wanted that again.
Earlier this year, my nieces and I wrote personal letters to MGA Entertainment requesting a new Bratz game. So when Flaunt Your Fashion was announced, I was in a state of delusion thinking our letters came true, fully knowing the fandom had been wanting a game for years. But it’s clear now—Flaunt Your Fashion was far from what I wanted.
Let’s start with some optimism. The whole premise of Flaunt Your Fashion is to travel to four cities—Stylesville, Barcelona, Seoul, and the Stylin’ Soiree (New York)—to do various tasks in order to grow the Bratz’s social media following before moving onto the main event. Out of all the cities, Seoul was definitely the highlight area with the art gallery and fashion lines in store—Rock Angelz, Welcome to Fabulous, and Princess. There’s a number of returning fashion lines like Campfire, Play Sportz, Wild Safari, Pretty ‘n’ Punk, and Dynamite that I personally loved seeing. In terms of characters, I was so happy to see not only Eitan, Dylan, Fianna, and Meygan, but also Felicia from the Sweet Dreamz line have a consistent presence all throughout. Olivia Hack, who voices Cloe in the original games and TV series, was amazing to hear from.
But the more I played, the more the blurry trip down memory lane began to disperse and the cracks of a game exploiting the Bratz name for revenue started to show.
Coming from a series where the main focus is having a passion for fashion, there weren’t many ways to express yourself. I wanted to see more stores with fashion from the Ooh La La, Midnight Dance, Sweet Dreamz, Genie Magic, Forever Diamondz, or On Ice lines too.
Instead, I got a reflection of the economy’s current state with the amount of closed shops in the malls and fashion lines scrambled everywhere, featuring individual pieces from Princess and Rock Angelz, but no full collections to try on. This included makeup which wasn’t perfectly implemented on any of the Bratz—they ended up looking like they had applied spray or acrylic paint to their faces. If Petoons Studio had really wanted to depict reality, they should have added the bargain bins from Rock Angelz and Forever Diamondz games or added harder trophy achievements where you can unlock more fashion and makeup.
During my second playthrough, it suddenly dawned on me: where are the accessories? It’s not a Bratz game without completing an outfit with accessories. Stores at the malls like Treasures or Glamorous Gemz ‘n’ Jewelz would be great for not only throwbacks, but to style the Bratz pack better.
The music in Flaunt Your Fashion goes hand in hand with the other Bratz games. Hearing the TV theme, “It’s a Girl Thing,” “Let Go, The Groove,” “When We’re All Together,” and “Let’s Get to It” this time was a blissful throwback for my ears. But the harmonious tunes from the Genie Magic, Forever Diamondz and Fashion Pixiez album are quickly drowned out by the generic instrumental replacements in most areas, leaving me feeling disoriented. I can’t help but imagine what my nostalgic heart would have felt like if songs like “Makin’ it Happen,” “(Hey) When the Angelz Play” or “The Way We Shine” were playing in the malls, apartments and main areas. But alas, barely any songs played long enough to bring the game to life. I mean, wouldn’t have been more of a rush hearing “I Won’t Stop” as you find the Secret Designer?
Gameplay wise, it felt like there was way less creativity and control in Flaunt Your Fashion than in previous Bratz games. Players can no longer switch characters, so it’s one Bratz girl per city. I panicked in my first city, thinking I was going to be stuck with Sasha the entire time with no option to style the remaining girls. It was the first instance where I thought this wasn’t going to be the Bratz game I had always wanted. Luckily, once I reached Barcelona, the option to switch was available and my playthrough ended up being Sasha, Cloe, Jade, then Yasmin, but it’s not the same as switching to each Bratz girl so they were all fashion-ready for any cutscene.
There’s no Tweevils, Burdine, or Your Thing Magazine, sadly, and even though Cloe mentioned the Tweevils in the beginning, it was merely an Easter Egg. I think that’s what makes Flaunt Your Fashion less of a fun game compared to Rock Angelz—there are barely any comedic characters. Talking to Flaunt Your Fashion‘s NPC’s feels more like a chore, and it doesn’t help that Flaunt Your Fashion desperately needed a skip or auto dialogue button—the constant need to press “next” became frustrating.
Instead of working on the Bratz magazine, the player in Flaunt Your Fashion is more of a social media assistant running around the cities to take photos and participate in subpar challenges for the ‘gram. So instead of building your own makeup and fashion line, designing shirts, or creating your own flyers like in the PS2 days, we got… taking selfies added into almost every task. Selfies are definitely a big part of social media, but I can’t imagine them being the entire job. What about hosting events or doing a “day in the life of a Bratz editor” event?
Every area has issues here and there—one in particular is a trophy to get all the hidden purple chests. The chests, which are filled with points and dollars, are placed randomly in the levels, but not explained to the player in the tutorial. And what’s worse is that there’s a fixed camera, which is a hindrance on Flaunt Your Fashion‘s open world action-adventure game aspirations with players not having visual control.
Awkward mini games have always been a staple in Bratz games, but they weren’t the least bit memorable in Flaunt Your Fashion‘s cities compared to ice skating or posing in previous games. I think back to racing Burdine towards the end of Rock Angelz, which was much more fun. Even the transportation modes—whether it be scooter, skating or a hoverboard—felt clunky to use and prevented players from interacting with anyone or going into the stores.
The big event in Flaunt Your Fashion, the Stylin’ Soiree, is a problem in itself. Just like how most of the games end in New York, the Bratz pack get invited by the Secret Designer to attend the Stylin’ Soiree, a prominent fashion event that felt anti-climatic. Instead of a place to give an amazing finale, it’s just another empty space that becomes linear story and style wise with no option but to watch the Bratz pack dress up in the Girls Nite Out line. The only choices you get in the Stylin’ Soiree, which spark no joy for a player, are the music genre, lighting colour and table theme—all of which contribute very little.
So instead of being a love letter to fans, Flaunt Your Fashion was more of a mediocre trading card. It didn’t fulfill me, nor did it surmount its PS2 predecessors. Even my own nieces, whom the developers were catering more to, did not enjoy it or understand the task objectives as easily. There were things that were incomplete and gave me the impression it was supposed to be a mobile game, with no option to go back to my saved file for any post-game content.
As soon as the credits rolled, all I could think about was a Rock Angelz remaster. While I’m glad Flaunt Your Fashion offers a new adventure for console gamers who love fashion, I’m not sure whether my nostalgia thirst has been quenched, especially after Stylin’ Soiree’s abrupt ending. I can only hope MGA Entertainment will greenlight a Rock Angelz remaster for players like me who want to fully show our creative flair in the future.
Nyasha Oliver (she/her) is a full-time writer, part-time reader. She runs her own spicy food blog, Nyam with Ny and finds peace playing RPG games in her spare time. Her next trip is pending but it will likely be somewhere in Asia. It’s best to tweet her at @aoispice, for all things on gaming, food, travelling and books.