Puzzling Relationships in Girls Like Robots

Adult Swim Games seems to always be coming out with new takes on familiar puzzles. That hasn’t changed with Girls Like Robots. Quirky, unexpected graphics are what catch the eye first, but it’s the gameplay that will keep you coming back.

More than just another matching game, Girls Like Robots stretches your thinking muscles and makes you work for the fun. Let’s find out how after the break.

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A Tale as Old as Time

Girls Like Robots starts off with a brief tutorial, during which you’re encouraged to see how the pink-haired, square-faced girl responds to first robots and then nerds. Put a robot next to a girl, and she’ll get a smile on her face as bright as sunshine. Just try sitting a nerd next to that previously happy girl; while the nerd is happier than a pig in mud, the look on the girl’s face lets you know she’d like to give the nerd a piece of her mind for taking her robot boyfriend’s seat and is only barely holding her tongue.

Off to school, all the robots and girls are ecstatic to be seated next to one another.

Off to school, all the robots and girls are ecstatic to be seated next to one another.

For the tutorial, everyone gets on the bus to go to Four Corners University or a similarly punny school. It’s your job to make sure everyone gets a seat partner they like. If you put two girls together, one will inevitably feel left out and end up pining away for her robot beau. Swap the girls around, put a robot between them, and you’ll have two very happy ladies on your hands.

Complicated Relationships

Girls Like Robots starts throwing in new rules and a few objectives as you get further in. For instance, a girl couldn’t be happier than with robots, but surround a robot with girls, and he starts to freak out. A robot can really only stand to be around three girls at one time. (I wonder if the brains at MIT know about this.)

Oblivious to the robot's anger, these girls are pleased as punch to be near their mechanical pal.

Oblivious to the robot’s anger, these girls are pleased as punch to be near their mechanical pal.

Nerds have their own prereqs for happiness. Put a nerd next to another nerd, and they’re going to get pretty angry. Separate those guys, however, and they’ll be fine. Even better, put a nerd on the edge of the board, and really, that’s as good as it gets for them. Pretty soon there will be social misfits and all sorts joining in.

Even bugs and the ladies who study them need love.

Even bugs and the ladies who study them need love.

If you start getting confused, there’s a handy Love Button. Tap it, and the edges of everyone on the board will start to glow — red for hatred and blue for love. To be honest, this seemed backwards to me — surely it should be red for love — but I rarely used the Love Button, anyway.

When you pass a level, you can do it by “squeakin’ by,” do sort of middling or get an excellent rating. Depending on how well you did in a level, you’ll get square coins to fill up your Bag of Happy. Enough coins and a full happy bag, and you’ll unlock bonus levels.

Weird Science

If Girls Like Robots seems simple, that’s because it is. There are only a few rules to master, and once you’ve got that down, who likes whom and who doesn’t, you know exactly what to do. The difficulty comes when the puzzles get more complicated and you lose control of how you place your girls, robots and nerds. Before long, you’ll find yourself in levels where only some squares on the board will be accessible, forcing you to place tiles where you might not want to. At the same time, Girls Like Robots will stop letting you control the order in which you place tiles, so while you might have a great spot for a robot, the next tile is a nerd and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

Things are getting tight on the dancefloor.

Things are getting tight on the dancefloor.

Girls Like Robots reminded me of the pen and pad puzzles I used to complete in grade school that started out with lists of names and attributes. The puzzle would describe everyone and then give you some parameters and you’d have to figure out who was oldest or tallest or, even, who was sitting next to whom. While Girls Like Robots doesn’t take the sort of deliberative thinking those old puzzles did, there’s more than one board I had to really take my time with and go back to over and over again to get a satisfactory result.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Girls Like Robots has a lot of the silliness of other Adult Swim Games offerings. A woman named June made happy by square-shaped bugs and early allusions to an exploding chicken are really par for the course in any game from Adult Swim. This isn’t your typical matching game and is a good choice for anyone looking for something new and different.

At the same time, there’s challenging (but not too challenging) gameplay to be had here. I was able to get a bronze pretty easily in just about every level, allowing me to move on to the next board, but to get gold, I sometimes had to try, try again. The best solution isn’t always obvious and can take a few tries to find.

If you’re looking for really tough puzzles, though, that’s not what you’ll find in Girls Like Robots, and there are plenty of other games out there for you. If you’re looking for a fun game that won’t go too easy on you, this is one to give a shot. It’s perfect for wasting a few minutes while giving your mind a bit of a workout.


Summary

Break hearts and plan seating arrangements in this puzzler from Adult Swim.

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