Love Nikki Dress Up Queen has been the essential styling game for mobile players for years. It’s held a dedicated fanbase since the original release, where players were smitten by the customization and depth of the dress-up options, paired with deep role-playing game mechanics. It was originally released in China in 2015, with an international release in 2017.
Though I’ve spent years building up a massive closet in Love Nikki, I’ve also been eager to move on to its sequel, Shining Nikki. It’s been out in China and elsewhere for a bit, but only got an international release this month. It happened so quietly that I didn’t even know it happened until this week, and I’m so pleased it’s here. It is hard to move on to a new game after spending so much time with Love Nikki, but I’m heading into Shining Nikki with full force. And I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing.
Fashion is one of the main draws for Shining Nikki, the mainline narrative is both essential in showcasing those outfits, but is a compelling RPG, too. Built within these systems are side quests, challenges, text adventures, grinding, and crafting. The story is complicated and long-winded, but it’s not hard to follow along: Nikki, by the power of her outfits, is destined to save the world. The route there doesn’t include bullets or physical fighting, but, as it turns out, does include guns!
One of the early story missions begins with a woman pulling a gun on a confused Nikki, who’s lost her memory. This is precisely the moment I knew I was going to enjoy Shining Nikki just as much as I loved Love Nikki.
Shining Nikki has spruced up the menu systems and user interface a bit — though it’s still incredibly dense and confusing — and improved the graphics, it’s still the series that I fell in love with. It’s still wacky, to say the least.
A few missions later (with memory regained), the story swerves once again: Now I’m required to craft my own gun, a pistol called Snownight Hawk. Here’s its description:
Before Snownight could fire the last round in her magazine, a scarlet blossom bloomed in front of her chest.
The story, at this point, vaguely involves some military folks, but I’m instructed to craft this gun to impress an eight-year-old girl that wants to see me in a cool outfit. And how could I deny her that? My cool outfit, which pleased the girl, is embedded at the top of this story. Judge for yourself.
Apparently, this isn’t the only extremely detailed gun in Shining Nikki. I saw a photo of an assault rifle in-game on social media, but I’ve yet to see how that plays into the story. But I cannot wait to find out. Shining Nikki is a fashion game, yes. But it’s also chaos. Darkness. Destruction. Pretty dresses. Elaborate hairstyles. And also guns.