Review: Girlfriends Forever: Magic Skate (WiiWare)

Thin ice

Let's get right to the point: Girlfriends Forever: Magic Skate is bad. Really, really bad. What seems like a perfect combination of ice skating and dressing-up on the surface reveals itself to be so cripplingly simplistic that not even children would want to play it.

At the beginning you choose one of the bug-eyed girls to play throughout your adventure, the main differences being the character models and tricks performed. Once selected, you pick one uninspired stage after another, performing "tricks" to win the Golden Skate and thus become the Skating Queen.

The gameplay is simple as they come: four icons move along the screen and you must execute the motion or button-press displayed to succeed. Do this ten or twelve times a stage and move onto the next stage, where you do the same actions but in a different order. As well as using four buttons, at times you're asked to draw a circle with the Remote or Nunchuk, but you'll soon discover you can shake the controller instead, squeezing any form of skill out of the game.

As you proceed from one dull arena – a land made of sweets! A Christmas stage! – to the next, the difficulty never changes. It's always four actions per trick at the same speed, and only the final stage offers different animations, though the same inputs are required to activate them. You can complete the game in about thirty minutes and even younger children will feel they've not been challenged in any way.

Then there's the dress-up portion of the game. As you execute tricks you earn dresses, headbands and accessories for your Chucky look-a-like, and predictably these make no difference to her abilities: it's all just for show. There's also something unsettlingly creepy in the way the girl turns to look over her shoulder at you, but young girls will likely have no such problems, instead being disappointed that completing the game unlocks a pair of golden skates you can't even wear.

The game doesn't fare much better in the graphical stakes, with ugly characters skating around worse environments. The music is even worse, with MIDI-quality tunes that grate within seconds, the ditty that plays after you complete a stage being the worst offender.

Conclusion

Girlfriends Forever: Magic Skate is a stinker. Even children will turn their noses up at the lack of challenge, extremely repetitive gameplay and poor production values. Steer well clear.