One of the latest games from Tomy is a bit of a surprise localization – Licca-can DS: Onna no Ko Lesson has been released in the US as Lovely Lisa. Lovely Lisa is a fairly standard mini-game collection, with Takara’s Licca-chan doll (named Lisa here) as the star. Adults won’t be challenged or interested, but most little girls will be charmed by the game.
The basic point of the game is that Lisa must perform chores, jobs and classes to build skill levels and earn money. If she’s skilled enough, she can enter the Heart Hills Pageant at the Contest Hall. Once you’ve “beat” the game by winning the contest, you can go back and play the mini-games to earn money to buy clothes, hair styles, accessories and make-up to customize Lisa. You can also design clothes and draw them for the doll as well.
There is a pretty wide variety of mini-games in Lovely Lisa. There are 18 different, short exercises and games kids can play (the piano game is found in both the Lisa’s House and Charm School sections). Some of these games are designed to be purely fun, but quite a few are building learning skills. Its sort of like subliminal education – kids will be learning to follow directions, pick things out from lists, memorize basic tasks and learn where letters are on a standard keyboard while playing. They most likely won’t realize that they’re learning though, because they’ll be too busy enjoying the game.
I was also pleasantly surprised by two things in Lovely Lisa – the voice acting and the ability for parents to customize the game experience. Lisa actually talks, so even very young children, who aren’t accomplished readers, could play and enjoy the game. There is also an option at the main menu screen where an adult can change the game’s difficulty level and the amount of points awarded for each playing mini-games.
I find the name change a bit perplexing. The front cover even says Licca in the upper left corner, and the dolls are clearly Takara’s Licca-chan doll and her family. Perhaps, since the doll and the doll’s name are unfamiliar in North America, Tomy decided to take a safer route and go with Lisa instead. It isn’t a big issue, I just found it a bit curious.
Even though this is a children’s game, adults still may be able to derive a bit of entertainment from Lovely Lisa. Her “Pop Star” stage has Lisa dancing on the top screen while you tap one of three buttons on the bottom when it lights up. Lisa dances spastically, as though she is having some sort of seizure.
Humor can also be found in the “Nursing” game. Lisa/Licca is supposed to be 11 years old, yet the nursing game has her administering shots to patients. Its slightly unsettling, but at the same time made me smile. The same can be said for the “Building Furniture” chore game, where Lisa must build couches, vanities, armoires and other large pieces of furniture. You can’t take Lovely Lisa too seriously, but you may get a giggle or two if you do.
Little kids will probably get a big kick out of Lisa. I know I would have loved to play a game like this when I was in kindergarten or first grade. Plus, its very child appropriate, with a star that actually looks like a 10 or 11 year old girl, rather than an 18 year old. like is often the case with Bratz or Barbie dolls.
Images courtesy of Tomy.