Review: Boy Loves Girl by Grubby Hands

The title of this game kind of scared me away, because I thought it was going to be the video game equivalent of a chick flick.  The truth is that in a lot of ways it really is, but never the less it’s proven to be quite amusing.  It’s a runner with finite levels, multiple goals and an altruistic purpose – to find true love.  When you get past the mushiness you’ll discover a game that can at times be challenging, is always visually appealing and even manages to have a sense of humor occasionally.  It’s not the ‘next best runner”, but it has certainly done the job of keeping me entertaining while I’ve been playing it.

Sad Clouds

You play a love struck boy trying to catch his ultimate prize.  The problem is, you have to cart the moon on a string behind you during your pursuit.  I’m not really sure why that is, but without it there wouldn’t be much to the game.  At the beginning of each group of levels your lady love will tell you what she wants, and you’ll spend each level trying to acquire that item.  So far it’s always been an animal, which is convenient because once you’ve caught the animal at the end of the first level it follows you until the last level of the world, at which point you’ll chase your love again just to find out what she needs next from you.

Along the way you’ll have objectives to meet, most of which are either tied to the clouds on the level or catching smiles.  Each cloud has a different activity tied to it.  For example, tapping a storm cloud three times causes it to burst, while skimming the top of a rocket cloud wins you a victory over that cloud.  Successfully pulling off a cloud’s actions earns you some smiles which you can then catch with your moon.  You earn a star for each objective on the level, and if you earn all three stars you can play a bonus to earn a heart.  The bonus is the “she loves me, she loves me not” game where you pluck pedals from a flower, and is actually fairly easy to win every time.

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Sleepy Day

Controlling the moon is a simple matter of swiping up and down.  You must touch smiles with the moon to “catch” them, but most everything else is off limits and will cause the moon to escape at which point you’ll have to start the level over.  There are certain activities like skimming a rocket cloud where the swiping doesn’t seem quite as precise as it could be, but overall the control scheme is easy and works well.  Once you’ve conquered all the levels in a world you’ll unlock infinite mode for that world, so between that and trying to earn three stars for every level there’s a decent amount of replay value in this game.

The visuals in Boy Loves Girl are quite charming.  Everything appears to be hand drawn, and while there are times – especially in the background – that I think to myself “I could draw that”, the style grows on you rather quickly.  The characters are well drawn and animated, though they lack certain primary details like faces.  Overall it’s a clean, sharp presentation that gives the feeling of a “doodle” landscape but actually looks good.

Evil Grin

The audio department, on the other hand, leaves a bit to be desired.  The sound effects are okay, but honestly kind of get on my nerves after a while.  The one thing I do find amusing is the muffled “fast food speaker” sounding voice during the “she loves me, she loves me not” mini-game.  The worse part of the scenario is that there is no music.  Given the relatively slow, calm nature of this game, the lack of constant background noise in the form of a soundtrack is quite obvious.

The beauty of the “running game” genre is that the format is so simple yet you can add so much to it and still fall within the perceived constraints of the genre.  Such is the case for Boy Loves Girl, where you control the object the runner is carrying instead of the runner himself.  Beyond that, while I do appreciate the concept of infinite levels at times I like how there are concrete objectives and short levels in Boy Loves Girl.  Overall this is a fun romp and should be enjoyed by anyone that fancies running games.

Overall Score: 7/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1

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<p>Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to <a href=""></a> and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.</p>