APP OF THE DAY: My Virtual Girlfriend review (iPhone / iPod touch / iPad)

Valentine's Day has come and gone and, for many out there, it was a hard time. For plenty of fellas, the day dragged as slowly as a one-armed serial killer. There were no cards, no romance, and no cheeky winks...

That's "winks" you filthy beggars.

However, not all is lost. You may have been on your tod, watching Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on catch-up TV and crying into an old sock on the day, but we've got a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Valentine's Day may not have coughed up an actual, living and breathing lass to take to the pictures, but you could always try...

My Virtual Girlfriend

Format
iPhone / iPod touch / iPad
Price
59p
Where
iTunes

Similar in style to a specific branch of Japanese role-playing games, My Virtual Girlfriend is Wet Productions Inc's light-hearted gift to the lonely iPhone or iPad owner. It is essentially harmless, being about as filthy as the floor in a Cillit Bang factory, but there's something strangely compelling in trying to get a bunch of pixels to like you.

The game offers a large range of different ladies (hundreds, in fact) to try to charm, and they'll generally meet a set of criteria you express on an initial menu screen. You can rank how important different physical and mental attributes are to you, and the end result should roughly match.

You also get to input your own (clearly going to be made-up) statistics, which will be important to the type of interaction you'll have with your date.

Then, it's simply a case of choosing what you think are the right responses and actions in order to level up and, eventually, get your simulated sexpot to strip down to her undercrackers. You manage to do so, and you win the game.

It's not as easy as repeatedly giving her praise though. She'll ask you questions and make suggestions too, which you can respond to in five different ways. The wrong response, based on her personality, will lose you experience and can even plummet you back down through the levels. In addition, certain big activities, such as going for a meal, cost money, of which you have in short supply. You can earn more, but in doing so you will lose experience as you're ignoring her as you go to work.

The graphics are good, with the girls all rendered in 3D, and there's plenty of facial expressions to get used to. And the iPad version is even better, with a higher resolution.

There's also so much dialogue, and so many responses, that it capably skirts most accusations of sexism. Many games of this type are hackneyed and offer little in the way of actual world conversation techniques, relying on sexual innuendo to get by, but while there's some of that present, and it's unlikely to be on Germaine Greer's iPhone, My Virtual Girlfriend at least tries to give its characters personality. Indeed, its producer is a woman, and that's been of great influence.

At 59p, Wet Productions has priced it cleverly and accurately to appeal to the (male) casual gaming set. And there's even a Lite version that's free to try out first.

Now, that's a cheap date.



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