Monday, 2 April 2012

Review: Boy Loves Girl

Boy meets girl, but boy cannot get girl easily. Instead he has to traverse through a series of obstacles to win her affections. Sound familiar? It should do. The whole "boy meets girl" storyline has featured many times before, whether it be in films, books or, in this case, games. However, it's nice to see a predictable premise have a bit of a change applied to it. A rather bizarre one in this case.

Presenting "Boy Loves Girl", an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad title where you get to play as a lovestruck boy who is trying to catch up with the object of his affections-the girl. Working as an infinite running game, Boy Loves Girl on first glance isn't that much different to the hoards of other infinite running games available on the App Store (such as Jetpack Joyride, which is an excellent game). However, what it lacks in uniqueness in the platform it chooses to be, it definitely makes up for it in other areas. 

The game tackles the tried and tested formula of infinite runners by adding in a unique, colourful and somewhat bizarre style. In this instance, the boy is not just trying to run through an infinite scrolling level, avoiding clouds and other obstacles, he has to do all of this whilst pulling along the moon tied to a piece of string (for what reason, I don't know). Oh, and the moon cannot hit any of said obstacles either. That's where the trickiness comes in.
Controlling the moon involves simply swiping it up and down. Occasionally the swiping isn't as accurate as it should be, which harbours some frustration, especially when it results in you losing the level. Other than this though, the controls are pretty straightforward and work, for the most part, how you would expect them to-efficiently. Other than making the moon avoid obstacles, it can also catch "smiles", but other than that, it's down to making sure the moon doesn't hit something during your journey. 

Boy Loves Girl contains a charming premise, one which on first glance may sound a little too mushy for some. At the beginning of each group of levels, the object of your affection will exclaim that she wants a special item before you're able to meet her. The level then begins, with the aim to not only get yourself and the moon safely to her in one piece, but have her desired gift ready to present to her. However, she's not an easy catch. Collect her gift and she'll rush off again after proclaiming that she needs yet another gift. Like Zelda is to Link, this girl is playing it hard to get!
Each level contains objectives which you will aim to meet. These can be related to the clouds or catching smiles, and the fulfilling these objectives counts towards giving you a better star rating at the end of the level. A nice touch is that each cloud generates a different activity. For example, tap a storm cloud three times and it'll burst. As I already mentioned, your aiming to get all three stars at the end of the level. If you manage to achieve this, a bonus section will be activated, where the boy gets to try out the "she loves me, she loves me not" flower petal picking game, where you have the chance to win a heart.

Aesthetically, the game is a bright, colourful and cute looking affair, and simplicity, for the most part, wins here. It's a crisp, eye-catching style which works. The only criticism is that at times the visuals look a little too simplistic, and I think adding some facial features to the boy would have helped a lot too, but then perhaps I'm nit-picking.

As for the audio, the sound effects are fine, but it would have been nice to have some actual music included whilst you are running through each level. This just makes the background sound effects sound more prominent, and it just feels a little lacking without one. However, you can listen to iTunes whilst you play, so if you wish to generate your own soundtrack, then it works brilliantly. 

Overall, Boy Loves Girl is a harmless, enjoyable running romp. Whilst it may not be unique (but then infinite running games are always going to be a hard one to crack in terms of uniqueness), it packs plenty of charm. It's a shame that there is no soundtrack, and that at times the swiping can be a little temperamental, as this would have been an even better game. However, criticisms aside, this is enjoyable enough, and the bizarre moon-steering premise won me over. 

Boy Loves Girl is available from the App Store, but a Lite version has now been made available. This Lite version includes the first 13 levels of the game, endless mode challenges, and bonus levels. 

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