From time to time I play somewhat odd and unusual games, and today I would like to review one of those . Girlcrush is an unusual game that will likely appeal to a very specific demographic. The gameplay itself is rather rigid and predetermined, as there is really only one direction the game is going. You play a female college student who ends up striking up a flirtatious friendship with a rather innocent and inexperienced girl, and more or less everything you do eventually leads the two to have a loving sort of relationship filled with lots of making out and even more explicit behavior. The gameplay itself is rather repetitive and you can only do one of three things with the person–study, take a break, or make out. Eventually you end up doing the same things over and over again, and even at the end there appears to be little in the way of progress. Your study partner will tell you that they love you and miss you, but you still say goodnight and go back to your own dorm, and you can only choose between a very small list of things to do.
So, given the game’s relentless drive towards greater love and intimacy between the two characters (of which one only sees the other person with various fashions and facial expressions that resemble NES games in terms of their graphics), how does this game work? In reality, the game makes the player, at least this player, feel rather uncomfortable, like a more experienced person seducing an inexperienced and innocent person who nonetheless has strong romantic longings. It feels like the game is placing the player in the position of a sexual predator, or at least someone willing to take advantage of a person naive enough to think that one can simply practice intimacy without any consequences. To be sure, you could probably play the game as someone more manipulative but I didn’t have the heart to myself. I’m not sufficiently experienced myself in intimacy to be able to pass off even pretend intimacy without some sort of honor. The predetermined nature of this game cannot be overemphasized enough–even if all you do is study, you are going to end up giving back rubs to your study partner and impressing her with your work ethic, and that alone will build up her love for you.
This game, in other words, is sort of like the exact opposite of my own love life. In this game, you spend time with a lovely girl and whatever you do only makes the two of you closer. This, lamentably, is not the case in real life. I can understand the ease of creating a game that is more or less unidirectional in nature, where there is only one ending, but it is hard to imagine an audience for whom this game would be satisfying. Besides being objectionable on moral grounds, those people who would find the sapphic romance of the game appealing would find it taking far too long to happen. The game falls into the uncanny valley of romance simulations, taking too long for those who are generally successful at intimacy and being far too optimistic for those whose romantic lives are generally in a disastrous state. On the plus side, if it can be said that this game has a plus side, the game at least lives up to its title, unlike the country song of the same name. Whether or not truth in advertising is enough to make this game enjoyable or worthwhile will depend on the gamer an on their enjoyment of the gameplay.
 See, for example: