Princess Dress-Up Sticker Book
Princesses don’t get married every day… unless they’re Disney Princesses. When Kate & William Royal Wedding fever was in the air this spring, Disney Publishing took note and released the Disney Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch ($3.99 each), so that little girls can dress up their favorite Disney princesses and play out their wedding fantasies year-round.
The app is the first sticker book from Disney DigitalBooks, which has published a number of traditional Read-Alongs and Puzzle Book apps starring Mickey, Nemo, Lightning McQueen, Tiana, Winnie the Pooh, and the stars of Toy Story. The specs: at 82 megabytes, the sticker book app demands a significant amount of free space and can be ponderously slow on the older iPhone 3G OS, although it plays more smoothly on Apple’s faster operating systems.
The Disney Princesses featured in the app are Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, and Tiana. In the seven mini-stories, each princess needs help selecting the dress and accessories she will wear for her upcoming special occasion: a wedding, a party, a ball, or a restaurant opening. Each princess has her own themed music, and Tiana’s score, which has a 1920s jazzy vibe, is by far the best.
In story mode, there are three fully illustrated storybook pages for each princess which set up the events that the princesses need to be dressed for. These pages are narrated and require players to click the forward arrow to move on to the next page. In story mode, the pages have to be flipped in order (beginning with Cinderella’s story and ending with Tiana’s), but by clicking the Mickey icon in the bottom right corner of the screen and selecting “Pages”, players can jump to any page in the app, including the interactive dress-up pages.
The app features a nice selection of dresses, tiaras, blouses, skirts, hats, purses, shoes, and necklaces to dress the princesses with, although with only one item per row, you have to scroll down pretty far to access most of the items. Whenever an item is selected and moved across the page, it is accompanied by the sound of a sticker being peeled, which gives the app more of a tactile experience.
There are two app shortcomings that I would rate negatively: the lack of a “snap to” feature, and the lack of a final storybook page for each princess that wraps up their individual storylines.
Putting the clothes and accessories on the princesses can be frustrating on the iPhone/iPod Touch screens. The shoes, gloves, and other accessories are very tiny, and proper placement which follows the contours of the princesses’ bodies may be challenging for less dexterous fingers. The app could be improved with a “snap to” feature which would make clothing and accessories jump to the proper place on the doll, as seen in online dress-up games such as this Disney Princess Mix and Match Game.
I was also frustrated that once each Princess was dressed, I could save a screenshot of the outfit I fashioned to my phone’s photo gallery or email it to a friend, but if I went back to story mode to continue with the story, I would be taken back to the previous page with the request to help dress the Princess, even though I had just done that. The next page would start the next Princess’s story, with no wrap up of the last. It would be far more satisfying to end each story with a final page of the Princess wearing her new outfit as she dances with her prince at her wedding/party/ball/restaurant opening.
In addition to saving and emailing images of the assembled outfits, players can import their own head shots and super impose them onto the bodies of the princesses while dressing the dolls. Even in Disney’s very best promotional screenshots, the superimposed heads look strange, but young girls will likely be thrilled by their photographic transformation into “real” Disney princesses.