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Review: Girls Like Robots

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I think they're just okay

Girls like robots. It's the name of the game, and it's the first piece of information given. Most of the time spent is in laying out seating arrangements of emotional square people in an attempt to maximize happiness.

Girls like robots. Robots like girls. Nerds like girls, but girls don't like nerds (sigh). Everybody likes pie; nobody likes being set on fire. I like the premise, but it ends up being a bit dull to play.

Girls Like Robots (iPhone, Linux, Mac, PC, Wii U [reviewed])
Developer: Popcannibal
Publisher: Popcannibal
Released: November 12, 2015 (Wii U)
MSRP: $6.99

Girls Like Robots starts off strong. The hand-drawn art is cute and inviting. Characters are expressive and the narrative that strings everything together alternates between comfortably familiar and bizarrely irreverent.

Even the central puzzle idea seems to have promise. By taking into account all of the little rules about who likes sitting next to whom, satisfying logic puzzles can be constructed. Indeed, some of the better levels had me reasoning through a succession of a-ha moments, working through the necessary if-then statements in my head in order to come to a suitable solution.

Girls Like Robots even does the classic Smart Game Design Thing () of introducing a new mechanic over the course of it in order to keep everything fresh. Some levels ask for negative happiness, some are timed, one has an almost Tetris-esque line-clearing mechanic. Sometimes it gets really weird, with fireflies bouncing off blocks to destroy underground insect lords.

And yet despite all that, I found myself bored more often than not with the seating chart gameplay. The early levels in a section are appropriately small, trivially easy in order to introduce a new idea. The problem is that it doesn't scale well: increasing the size of a puzzle increases the difficulty and complexity, but it transforms from a solvable logic exercise to a muddle of trial and error.

So few of the puzzles hit the sweet spot, where the solution is neither immediately obvious nor unreasonably obtuse. Even finding the correct solution in some of the bigger challenges isn't satisfying, because the outcome doesn't appear to be substantially different than any number of failing configurations. It's all just a mess of cute characters arranged into rows.

Thankfully, there is a skip button to blow past any puzzles that are taking too long. I never used it, but I found myself tempted a few times, simply because I wanted to see where the story would go next but I wasn't enjoying myself while I was actually playing.

There's no doubt that Girls Like Robots is charming, and that quality alone is enough to make it worth seeing through to the end. But while the wacky story and self-aware narration is enough to carry interest, the actual puzzles work against that.

In the end, the game mirrors its own volcano picnic scene. It's cute, it's weird, it sounds like a fun idea at first, and there are some delicious pies to find here and there, but somebody is going to get burned.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Girls Like Robots reviewed by Darren Nakamura

5

MEDIOCRE

An exercise in apathy, neither solid nor liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.
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Darren Nakamura
Darren NakamuraAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more + disclosures


 


 


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