For my iPhone I haven’t found very many games that are playable or even fun. I’ve downloaded several recommendations and have been disappointed more often than not. Am I hard to please? I don’t think so; my criteria aren’t that tough.
- The game has to be playable on the small screen of the iPhone. You can’t just stick any game on that real estate. If I can’t see what’s going on, I can’t play to my potential.
- The game needs to be intuitive or have instructions on how to play. Apple says their apps are intuitive and don’t need instructions (putting us technical writers out of business). If this is part of the game play like with “Little Big Planet”, “Machinarium”, or “Limbo”, it’s great. If not, IT’S ANNOYING. You want people to play your game, right? Then tell them how.
Grubby Hands hits the ball out of the park with the game graphics. I’ve seen a lot of right scrolling games with bit graphics. After the first level, they are simply annoying.
The graphics in “Boy Loves Girl” are crisp and clean on the small screen. The color palette is beautiful and the art is modern and fun. The movement is not overdone so your eyes are overwhelmed and gameplay is impeded.
Music doesn’t stand out for me unless it’s annoying so I paid particular attention.
The theme music is really very nice. It matches the entire theme of the game.
The sound effects are not annoying. There are some very subtle effects that are quite smart. For instance, in the Market Level, I could hear sirens in the background; it sounded like a city. (Yes, I considered whether or not it was actually my neighborhood but, not this time.)
“Boy Loves Girl” is a right scrolling game. The gameplay is not particularly new or innovative, but sometimes game developers succeed if they get the basics right.
Gameplay is straightforward. Boy pulls the moon on a string. You swipe up and down so the moon dodges on-coming clouds. You also tap the clouds for ‘combo’ moves. There are bonus tokens on the screen you can capture with the moon or tap to receive.
Regina and I both experienced control issues with swiping the moon on the far left of the screen. The responsiveness in that area is really poor.
There are brief instructions before each level and new cloud encounter. The graphics are succinct but not particularly helpful and even misleading. Within the app, there are no additional instructions. I got help from a PDF Grubby Hands sent to me, but I don’t see that file available to customers on the web site or iTunes. A search online will get you some help.
I would have liked to see a progress bar at the bottom of the screen to see how much further I had to go in each run.
Once I understood the gameplay, it was a lot of fun. I really want to find out the final gift Boy gets Girl. And I want an elephant!
You’re typical game review would not include this category but, you are reading the GoG blog and gender and identity are, like, our thing.
In game gender is handled really well. The gifts Boy collects for Girl are not the stereotypical jewels and chocolates but fun, exotic animals, stars, and smiles.
The gender issues lie in their marketing. Statements like “Everyone knows that the way to please a girl is to bring her the moon on a string” and “Girl quickly proves to be quite demanding” are broad and careless. If they get a copy writer half as good as their graphics designer, they’ll be golden.
A picture is worth a thousand words because it can carry so many subtleties. Take a look at the iTunes icon for the app.
If you match the eye level of Boy against Girl, you see he’s looking down (follow his nose), as if humbled or downcast. Girl’s straight-on profile and jutting chin is stern compared to his. The most powerful body language is her crossed arms. She is closed off and distanced. I’d like to see a little more softness in Girl’s gestures--a reciprical relationship.
“Boy Loves Girl” appears to be the second game app from Grubby Hands (the other is “David Haye’s KO”) but it’s a quality offering in a market saturated with half-hearted efforts. At $0.99, this is an awesome value.