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Review: Pocket Clothier (iOS)

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 by

Kairosoft.

For a lot of mobile gamers, that is all the more I really need to say to sell this game. Kairosoft fans know what to expect already. They know how they lose themselves in each new game like they lost themselves to the addictive “just one more” style of gameplay. They know the early struggle, as they try to wrap their heads around the system, until they feel like they owned the game. For those players who already know how fun and rewarding a Kairosoft simulation can be, there’s a chance they’re reading this just to see that someone else agrees with them.

Pocket Clothier is the latest game from Kairosoft. Your job is to manage a clothing outlet. While the theme comes off sounding banal, there is more than meets the eye.

There is a lot of things going on in Pocket Clothier. You start off with $5,000 in cash and an empty retail space. You’ll need to hire employees, fill the area with your wares, make the area more visually appealing with fixtures, and try to earn cash the entire time. You also can earn Gold Medals, which are used to unlock new clothes items or level up your employees, but they can only be earned via fixtures, store events, or customer-employee interaction.

For number nerds, there are a lot of statistics to be aware of here. Employees have ratings in four different categories, while clothing items have three categories of their own on top of the buying and selling prices. These numbers can be improved via gold medals and cash, respectively, and can also trigger events. Your store itself also has four numbers to consider, though only cleanliness and popularity seem to matter.

Each clothing label also has its own numbers to consider. Sell enough of a brand and your rapport grows with the label and you unlock better wares and, occasionally, fixtures or larger “tenant” areas. Often, items from the same brand look good together and will form combos when sold on the same floor.

Each employee also has skills that they can learn. Level up your skills and other skills may unlock. Level your character enough, though, and they’ll ask for a raise. It’s a meager bump, but it’s annoying nonetheless. If you shoot them down, their loyalty stat may decrease. I’m not sure what that means, as the game seldom explains things, but that’s kind of the beauty of these games.

On top of all this, the people who visit your outlet also have their own system of triggers. People will only notice your store once certain conditions are met, such as a new clothing rack or poster being placed. Then, once there, they can earn jobs through trying on clothes in the fitting room or taking part in little quests under the “Plans” menu. These quests ask you to coordinate an outfit. Visitors with jobs will have more cash to spend in your store. Again, these jobs are tied to items.

If that seems like a lot to take in, it is. Pocket Clothier is an overwhelming experience. This is a game where people will definitely seek out guidance (and we’ll be on that shortly) as it’s simply not clear how many things work out. It’s frustrating, for instance, to find that you cannot put an item up for sale because you haven’t unlocked the “Showcase” with no guidance on how to unlock it.

However, it’s also a lot of fun bumbling through the system. You’re learning on the fly and your store will sink or swim because of it. It’s not terribly difficult to be profitable, but it is difficult to maximize said profits.

That’s right. Eat it, Google.

Around year ten, the game will throw a wrench into your system with inventory management and hefty taxes if you have too much inventory stockpiled. There will also be annoying times where supply cannot meet demand and you’ll be unable to order new inventory from a label or two. You’ll seldom have trouble turning a profit, but it always feels like you’re missing out on even more sales. It’s complication for the sake of complication.

There are a few more things going on. Your employees can also craft items in the workshop in their spare time. These items are tied to character skills, but the lack of a clear path and seemingly randomized items makes it difficult to track what skills provide what items. This lack of control can be a bit maddening.

Even more maddening is that you cannot remove items once they are placed. Items like the “Large Register” make your older cash register redundant, but you’re stuck with the old ones. With a finite amount of space to work with, it’s a frustrating design choice. You can move items to other floors, mind you, but that’s simply not good enough.

Pocket Clothier is hard to put down, certainly, but the absolute glut of information will put off many people. Some poor design choices sully an otherwise great experience.

4 star

(Pocket Clothier is universal, but it is not optimized for the iPhone 5 at this time. There are awards made in game, but Pocket Clothier is not compatible with GameCenter and has no achievements. Pocket Clothier costs $3.99 in the App Store.)

About the Author

Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming. Keep up with him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Fade2Slack so he can justify having a Twitter account.

Fade to Slack has written 347 posts on Delta Attack
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  • http://sixthfore.blogspot.com/ Sixthfore

    You CAN remove items once they are placed. Select something twice (to get to the item info screen). On the bottom left bar outside of the window that pops up, there’s a “Remove” button.