Beauty is only pixel deep.
Let’s face it; this game is for younger teen-aged girls. The whole concept of the game is you’re on vacation with one of your friends on a tropical island paradise, when one of the handsome boys starts to fall for you. Do you encourage him? Oh no! What do you do?
Well, if you’re playing the game like you’re supposed to (and not playing it with your actual boyfriend nearby laughing at some of the lines) then you’re probably going to try to encourage him to fall for you.
While you’re "learning to flirt" you can go shopping, run errands for people and in general act like a spoiled rich teenager on vacation without parents, pretty much every teenage girls dream. And along the way, you get to "solve" a mystery, which seems to be incidental to getting the guy.
Aside from the entire concept of the game, it wasn’t that bad. That is to say, the graphics were nice, sound was okay, and play ease was definitely there.
Basically a focused "sim" game, the graphics definitely helped create that island vacation feel. People looked believable, and moved in believable ways, animals were well-rendered and I really enjoyed just looking at the ocean. They definitely got that down.
I was somewhat disappointed that most of the characters looked alike. They all had that feel that they were based on one or two models with only minor and superficial changes.
In a game where you’re supposed to get the guy, it doesn’t make any sense that you would look like every other female on the island. All the females I know like to try to stand out somehow to get attention. They make their own personal style, and that was the one major lack in the "graphics" department.
The sound for the game was a combination of ambient noises and a soundtrack. The ambient noises were dead-on and I found myself listening to the ocean a few times while I had to go off and do something else in the real world. The soundtrack wasn’t bad, but it did get somewhat repetitive, and I couldn’t find an option to kill the music and leave the rest of the sound. If you’re playing it in half-hour chunks, the music would be just fine. Anything longer than that and you’ll find yourself humming the music at the most inopportune times.
While there was rather limited instructions, the game is really easy to figure out if you’re at all familiar with standard keyboard-based PC games. If not, I could imagine it would be a little frustrating at first, but there’s really not too much to figure out here, so it gets a good score for ease of play.
As for beating the game, the "mystery" is pretty easy to figure out, the mini-jobs in the game range from simple to tedious (learning to make your character dance can be really annoying).
If you happen to have any experience with the opposite sex, this game can be pretty amusing if you play it with the right mind-set. However, it’s not one I’d recommend to older folks.
For the younger girls, it might be a better sell, but even there, it gets a little tricky. There’s a fine line between pandering to young girls and providing a game they will like. In this age of empowerment, it’s not really PC to have a game centered around flirting, which could be interpreted as objectifying women.
Now as a game that young teen girls will enjoy, My Boyfriend probably hits the mark. However, getting young girls to spend time flirting with pixels and an AI might be a tough sell, whereas boys would probably take to it a lot better, at least if it were buried inside a Grand Theft Auto type of game.
Then again, one look at any of the popular television shows aimed at girls on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon (Hannah Montana, iCarly, True Jackson VP) confirms that girls do enjoy flirting and shopping, so a game like this would be a natural extension of that.
It’s a bit of a stretch to say that this game teaches flirting, which the box implies, but perhaps it would make some young girls a little less hesitant of talking and interacting with boys. Whether or not parents think that is a good thing or not is up to you.
GiN’s Family Titles Reviewer Karen Rosenberry contributed to this review.