I was way too excited for the new My Boyfriend game. I anticipated all the fun of Sim dating, plus my favorite guilty pleasure (changing my avatar’s clothes every five minutes), without all that tedious eating and sleeping and meter-watching of actual Sims. I really wanted to like it. I wasn’t lying in angry-feminist wait for objectionable themes, I wanted to blog about frothy dialogue, cute outfits and imaginary boyfriends.
But it was awful.
The game opens with you and your best friend arriving at a resort full of fun activities and hot guys! Unfortunately, the dialogue is stilted, partly because it’s EFL, and partly because I hoped for witty banter. There’s a lot of clicking ok, only “ok” is an awkward agreement. The dialogue was so awkward that I couldn’t always tell who was supposed to be an attractive possible friend and who was a mean girl to be thwarted with my killer wits. I could tell which guys were potential boyfriends, though, because the minor NPCs only had one line to say. Over and over.
As you walk around the resort, white stars appear over activatable items, and you have the option to participate in different resort activities. Whether you choose to relax in the sun, rent waterskiis, or swim in the pool, you don’t play a minigame or even watch a little cutscene animation. You watch a clock tick. I’m not exaggerating. You watch a pink clock tick. Um, when does the fun start?
Other activities do involve minigames. These are activated by talking to an NPC. I’m usually a big fan of minigames (see also: all my recent hidden objects game reviews), but these minigames were awful. AWFUL. We’re talking incomprehensible directions, repetitive gameplay and bizarrely uneven difficultly levels. For Step Aerobics, you need to click the right color in the right order five times to complete level one. For Kareoke, you need to click the right color at the right time FORTY EIGHT times to complete level one. Wait, one is more difficult than the next by a factor of ten?
Your character can also experiment with makeup, but the extremely limited choices forbade either adorable looks or hilarious fashion trainwrecks. (If you think makeup doesn’t lend itself well to a videogame, check out the facial minigame in Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting To Danger for a makeup game done right, or Sims 3 for recreational avatar decoration.)
I really wanted to like My Boyfriend, but we have to break up. This just isn’t working out.