Gurlz Vs. Robots is the first 11-finger, simultaneous four-player retro arcade game for the iPad.
Players gather around each side of the device as it lays on a flat surface and drag directional arrows onto the screen to try and guide the stream of robots away from the other players' escape pods and to their pod to earn points. Occasionally the dreaded, robot-killing GURLS will appear in the stream of robots, if any of them makes it to your pod they delete a huge amount of your points.
But can all of this finger flailing be fun?
Finger Flailing: There's a lot going on even for the iPad's relatively large screen. When played with four people, you have at least eight fingers, sometimes more, jabbing, dragging and poking at the screen. The idea is to direct the robots to your escape pod with arrows. But other players can try and redirect them around your pod with their own arrows. And when those Gurlz show up, you suddenly have to start directing them away from your pod and towards the other players', so there's a lot going on. Fortunately, at least when I played with my son, wife and mom, this led to giggling, not anger.
Aesthetic: The game looks just like something pulled out of an 80s arcade, with brightly-colored, pixelated robots and gurlz and huge, blocky, nonsensical maps. They even have you drag a virtual quarter onto the color of your choice to say you're ready to play. Fantastic.
That's My Arrow!: There's a slight delay, after dropping your arrow in place, before it locks down. In that brief moment another player could snatch it and move it. Not fun, and not fair. Unfortunately, with the crowded play and all of those fingers, it can even happen by accident.
I like Gurlz Vs Robots not because it's some sophisticated new way to game, but because it treats the iPad like a board game. It gets friends and family to gather around the device and play together. That's fantastic.
There needs to be more games like this, like Scrabble, for the iPad. Single-device, communal gaming is where the iPad can really shine.
Gurlz VS Robots was developed and published by sticks+stones games for the iPad on April 20. Retails for $4.99 USD (Right now on sale for $2.99). A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played multiple matches with one, two and three other people.
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