Author: S. Woodson
My Scores (Out of 5):
In Magical Makeover, you have managed to get an invitation to Princess Philantha's Grand Equinox Ball! (Specifically, you've managed to get Dame Demetria's invitation to the ball. But never mind.) Once you're inside the palace, you plan to search for the legendary, wish-granting golden cassowary! Only, just having the invitation isn't enough: Princess Philantha only permits the prettiest people to be present at her party, which means it's time for a makeover! What could go wrong?
It occurs to me that this is the second game I've reviewed where the protagonist is a lesbian, and in both cases, the games were text-only and her love-life was irretrievably in the toilet. Huh. This has no bearing on the rating, mind you; I just find it kind of odd, and if it happens again, I'll have to check TV Tropes to see if “love-lorn lesbian text adventure” is a thing.
Getting back on topic: the writing for this is both good and hilarious. The game is partly a send-up of the classic dress-up/hygiene flash games on the internet. Our protagonist is not especially pretty, and she knows she's not pretty, and people are all too glad to tell her she's not pretty. But, when her rather suspicious beauty-products turn her into freaky and unusual shapes, somehow this gets considered beautiful. Of course, the beauty treatments are only a means to an end, both in-game and in a meta sense: after your arrival at the party, the story branches off into narratives that have little to do with either beauty or the eyes of beholders, and everything to do with looking for the golden cassowary. In other words, “Come for the satire, stay for the adventure.”
I think I would have liked this game better if it had more choices in the second half. As it is, only the makeover segment itself feels remotely like a game, with the scenes at the party playing out like a very long epilogue. The choice of beauty-products is what determines which story you get to read at the end. Your choice of clothes has no effect on it, though it does give you some flavor text on the bus and at the party, which I enjoy seeing.
Magical Makeover is an entertaining interactive story that flips off beauty-obsession without making that its only point. While the first half feels more like a game, the latter half puts more emphasis on “story” than “interactive”. Still, the writing itself is often fun enough to hold this piece's head above water.
That's just my opinion, though. Do you think that this game is simply glamorous, or is it the weirdest thing you've ever seen? Tell us in the comments!