Grubby Hands, an independent UK game developer, has released their new iOS game, Boy Loves Girl! Follow the boy though cities, towns, and forests as he chases his one true love, gathering smiles and hearts along the way. Each level propels the boy one step closer to winning the girl, but there are many obstacles to avoid. The boy carries the moon on a string (a very cute play on the popular “I’d give you the moon!” cliché), and you must avoid clouds, thunder bolts, and sleepy cloud ZZZzzz’s that can break the moon or let it get away as you chase down and collect other presents for the girl – things like gazelles, kangaroos, and other fanciful items.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward, as you swipe up and down to keep the moon safe and use it to gather smiles and achieve the goals of each level. It’s fun and only occasionally frustrating, mostly brought on by the fact that if you lose the moon and ‘die’ you must restart each level from the beginning – there are no save points or checkpoints to go back to. Boy Loves Girl is entertaining and challenging for both casual gamers like myself and more advanced gamers like my fellow Open The Fridge writers. The graphics are very colorful and have a hand-drawn, nostalgic, and retro appeal, while the side-scrolling brought back childhood memories of original Sega and Nintendo games.
There is some good replay value here, too, through the three star challenges that it presents on each stage. A la Jetpack Joyride, the game encourages you to perform what I’ll call “stunt” moves (like grazing dangerously close to a cloud but not hitting it) to collect more smiles in a stage. These stunt moves are also often part of certain objectives that, when completed, net you the challenge stars in each level and unlock bonus stages.
As a woman who just finished her master’s thesis on feminist agency and female stereotypes in literature, I was interested to apply a feminist perspective to Boy Loves Girl and also see how my fellow (male) reviewer, the Fridgemaster himself, viewed the gender dynamic of the game. Obviously, the notion of the male doing all the pursuing in a relationship is a little outdated, and you can start to see the girl as quite demanding after your moon breaks on the same cloud for the fourth time! Dwight and I had a good chuckle over how the first woman to ask him for a gazelle was going to be shown the door. On the whole, it was all in good fun, and I look forward to future releases from the very talented Grubby Hands!
Boy Loves Girl is just $0.99 at the iTunes App store.