The Bratz, for those who don't know, are a group of teenage cartoon characters who are into fashion, hair, make-up and bad music. In fact, they're just like real life teenage girls, except they aren't also into Peach Thunderbird and happyslapping, and they have heads so freakishly enormous it's impossible to believe that all their mothers didn't die in childbirth.
But young girls care not about such details, and so the Bratz have become hugely popular, with what started out as a range of dollies spawning TV shows, films and, inevitably, a videogame.
Bratz: Rock Angelz follows the adventures of Yasmin, Sasha, Jade and Cloe (sic) as they embark on a project to set up their very own fashion magazine. You get to play as all four characters as they wander around town fulfilling various objectives, such as taking photos, investigating the newest make-up trends and trying on the latest fashions.
As you explore you'll come across special Bratz tokens which can be used to unlock stuff at the local cinema - such as new music tracks, cut-scenes and, of course, the trailer for the new Bratz DVD.
In fact, the whole thing feels like a bit of an advert - the clothes you can dress the Bratz in, for example, are based on clothes for the toys you can buy in real life, and there's evidence of sponsorship deals in the form of Foot Locker and Claire's Accessories stores you can visit.
Not that kids will care, of course - they'll be too busy having fun trying on earrings and applying eyeshadow. There's a decent selection of items to choose from, and plenty of coins littered about the place with which to buy them. There's even a bit of scope for creativity, since you can design your own T-shirts and posters, and - the one part of the game which might appeal to small boys - draw rude pictures all over the Bratz' faces in your favourite shade of lipstick, should you so desire.
The Bratz pack
Each Bratz character carries a mobile phone, which you can use to receive and send texts, take and view photos, and check your next mission objectives. All the missions involve heading to a different location and performing an extremely simple task, and there's no running, jumping or blatting of enemies involved.
Which means the game is straightforward enough that you could leave your child alone with it for an hour or two, confident in the knowledge that they won't be tasked with murdering any prostitutes and are unlikely to need much help. The only sticking point for younger players might be finding their way around - a lot of the shop fronts look the same, and although there's a map it doesn't display which way you're facing, which makes it not much use at all.
Not all girls will enjoy Bratz: Rock Angelz - especially those who prefer Babylon 5 to Barbie anyway (there are some, we know this for a fact). Older children are likely to get very bored, very quickly and although the graphics are decent enough and there are one or two cute ideas (such as the mobile phone), there's really nothing here to elevate this game above the status of does-the-job cash-in. But at least it does do the job, as far as Bratz fans are concerned anyway - they won't be disappointed.
Children's titles are rated out of five to differentiate them from the standard Eurogamer scoring system.
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