Hello, today I am reviewing the latest dressup game, Shining Nikki. This is the latest in a long-running series of dressup games from Chinese developer, Paper Games. In Nikki’s newest game, you can see Nikki modeling her outfits for the first time in 3D. Much of the game is still in 2D anime style too, so you’re not missing that anime aesthetic.
Before I get too far let me share with you some codes you can redeem in Shining Nikki for some nice perks:
First, download and install Shining Nikki from the app store: https://nikki4.playpapergames.com/m/home
Next after setting up the game, click the user profile in the top left and then click settings and Redeem Code.
There are currently 2 Shining Nikki Redeem Codes active at time of this review:
And now here are my initial thoughts about Shining Nikki which just launched a few days ago.
One of the most interesting things about this new installment of Love Nikki Dressup Games is that Nikki has a bit of artificial intelligence this time and can interact with you in surprising new ways. For example, she will ask you if you’ve played the previous games or not, and remember and reference things that had happened in the previous games if you’ve played them before. Another example is she will ask you what type of food you like, and remember your decision and later may offer to cook for you. You can also tell her if you’re male or female and she’ll interact differently based on if you’re a male love interest, or just a close female friend.
Watching Nikki lounge around at her home is cute. You can buy snacks and gifts for Nikki and she’ll sometimes be away from her home. This builds her intimacy with you and can trigger various events like learning more about each other or even unlocking new outfits later.
I did see someone make a joke that you buy Nikki movie tickets and snacks so she can go to movies without you. I laughed because it’s kinda true. But you also buy her things to go to part-time jobs or learn new things, etc.
I feel like the gameplay in this version of Nikki borrows quite heavily from gameplay in another otome dressup game called Romantic Diary. I know they are by different companies and all, but the fact you equip designer reflections and also perform investigations feels more like Romantic Diary or Wannabe Challenge than the traditional older Nikki games like Nikki UP2U, Hello Nikki or Love Nikki which all primarily focused on crafting, gacha, and dressup only.
In this way, Shining Nikki feels like it has evolved to “keep up” with the steady instream of fashion games that we continue to thankfully see hitting the app stores each week. The newly polished graphics, music, voice acting, and more in-depth gameplay elements make Shining Nikki the best game in the series yet.
Overall Score: 66/80 83% B “Very Good Game For Girls”
Geeky: 3/5 – The story is tragic and full of action and excitement which is unique for a casual girly dressup game. However, at the end of the day, despite 3D graphics and all the bells and whistles, it is just that… a 3D dressing game, with much of the game still in 2D as well. Unless you like anime otome dressup games, this one won’t be your cup of tea either.
Sweetie: 5/5 – But for those of you who like myself, adore this genre, of otome dressup games, this is one of the best ones available right now. Be sure to check it out. Nikki is even cuter now in 3D.
Gameplay: 7/10 – There is a ton to do in this game, from crafting to investigating, to reading the story, to even just interacting with Nikki and her new more personalized interactions thanks to a new AI system. However, it seems too short each day. I find I want to keep playing but have used up all my turns in the investigations or fashion battles or that I need to craft a very specific item from an investigation I haven’t unlocked yet and have to wait til the next day to get more investigation turns. Also, some turns say 5/15 – and I’d be willing to pay gems or cash to get more turns but that doesn’t seem possible sadly. Not sure how to use the other 10 supposed turns. They’re never available. Some of the fashion battles are challenging too especially on hard mode but well that is the purpose of hard mode after all. One key feature that I really miss from Love Nikki is the user-voted fashion challenges around certain themes. Maybe I just haven’t unlocked this feature yet I don’t know. Also, I don’t like that you can only equip 5 accessories. You should be able to equip one item from each type of category. Other games like Alice Closet allow this, so why not Shining Nikki too?
Story: 9/10 – There is a really interesting dramatic story, and the full voice acting helps bring it all to life. The story in Shining Nikki separates it from other dressup games out there. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but lets just say it’s both beautiful, sad, and dark, which is something you don’t see every day in a cute little otome dressup game. That said, after the first few chapters, I just started skipping the story because it was slow and dragging down the gameplay too much. But the story is definitely good for those who enjoy taking the time to click through it. There are multiple decisions to be made, but largely it seems to be just an illusion of choice, and not much impact actually on the story.
Characters: 10/10 – I like all of the characters, many of whom are returning from previous Nikki games. Even the minor characters feel fleshed out and have deep rich back stories which slowly reveal themselves.
Graphics: 7/10 – Nikki is 3D sometimes, in fashion battles or at her home, but largely the majority of the game is still 2D and not “live 2D” but just still, no animation, however, the characters and backgrounds are all nicely drawn. Not a huge variety of outfits yet and some of them are downright ugly. 3D Nikki in her home is really cute. The fashion battles reveal a lot of tiny intricate details in the outfits when zoomed in close. The detail is quite lovely.
Music: 6/10 – Music is nice but can get repetitive as is true of most mobile games.
Voice Acting: 9/10 – Most of the game is fully voiced in English, and it’s not terrible which is a nice plus. The only voice I found really annoying was Momo.
Replay Value: 10/10 – New events, new items, and daily quests and tasks make replay value sky high on this one.