Hello everyone and thanks for checking out episode 3 of Game on Girl Shorts! In this show, Rhonda and I review a new iPad/iPhone game from Grubby Hands called Boy loves Girl. You can read Rhonda’s review here.
So my review has three categories: Things I Love about the game, Game Mechanics, and as always, Gender.
I love the graphics for the game. They are crisp, clean, and easy on the eyes. The scrolling backgrounds don’t move too quickly or distract from game play but offer a very natural sensation of running through the landscape of each level.
The narrative of the game is charming. I love that Boy is chasing after Girl with the moon on a string. The moon is such a powerful female symbol it is as if he is trying to give her the light from the night’s sky. Lovely. There is just enough story to keep me engaged and wanting to move further through the levels. I do agree with Rhonda’s comments that a little more narrative or reciprocation on Girl’s part would make a welcome addition to the story.
When you finish a level with three stars (the max you can get), you get a chance to earn a heart – another gift you can give to Girl. You play “She loves me/she loves me not” on a digital flower. I had the most profound nostalgic experience at the moment this first popped up on the screen. I was taken back to being a girl and playing that game with one of my childhood friends. It brought out the mastery player in me because I wanted to get as many three star levels as I could so I could play that again!
With that said, the swiping motion needed to move the moon up and down was sporadic at best. I wasn’t sure if it was the screen protector on my iPad that was causing interference with the game but as Rhonda experienced the same difficulties I think it might be a programming issue. This lead me to feel somewhat frustrated as even when I would swipe in time, the moon would not move and I would lose a level.
The controls were also not entirely intuitive. The graphics demonstrating how to move around each cloud were clear and popped up at the introduction of that particular obstacle but it took several levels for me to understand that the golden bobbles that popped up from Boy were the “smiles” I was supposed to be catching with the moon. As I observed a friend play the game, she didn’t understand that at all and once I explained it to her said that made the game significantly more engaging. As Rhonda and I discuss on the show, a game encyclopedia accessable from the home screen that explains how to move over or under the clouds and how to tap stars and catch smiles would have helped a great deal.
The simplicity of both the Boy and Girl avatars is a great strength in this game. They are both barefoot, and simply dressed and Girl is not overly boobtastic so I don’t get the sense Boy is running after her from a desire to conquer her sexually. As Rhonda also mentions, he isn’t trying to gift her diamonds or jewels or running after her with an engagement ring. This adds to the symbolism of the game being a whimsical journey of love.
It is particularly of note that Girl likes exotic animals, instead of the more cutesy puppies or kittens that might be the go-to animals for a game like this. This gives Girl a more sophisticated sense and elevates the game from the mainstream in “girly” games.
Overall, I give Boy loves Girl three of four stars and for .99 cents in the iTunes app store, I think it would make a great addition to any gamer’s iPhone or iPad for a charming, whimsical journey.
Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.