Girl Zone is a minigame collection developed by Ivolgamus UAB and published by Phoenix Games in 2005 for the PlayStation 2.
The game involves two friends, Mia and Julie, traveling across the galaxy in a spaceship while partaking in eleven minigames:
- Fashion Planet;
- Flower Planet;
- Wild Forest;
- Last Minute Cleaning;
- Sea Fashion;
- Beach Decoration;
- Wild Safari;
Why It Sucks
- The rules for each of the minigames are never told clearly:
- In the Fashion Planet, Flower Planet and Sea Fashion minigames, you aren't told which criteria you need to meet to obtain a high score, so success ultimately depends on pure luck.
- In the Kite minigame, you're told to move the kite to catch balloons of the same color. Pressing the buttons doesn't move the kite (as the explanation implies), but the character holding it, which is on the bottom of the screen. What you actually need to do is to move the character to make the kite collect a streak of balloons of the same color. Sometimes, a small string will fall off the kite, but the game doesn't explain you what that is: it's actually a health bar, which drops if you collect a balloon of a wrong color (which can happen extremely easily, since there is a small lag between the character and the kite's movement).
- In the Constellations minigame, you aren't told any rules at all, and your first instinct will be to connect all the dots/stars together to form a constellation. What you actually need to do is to highlight the stars with the cursor to see their color, and then find all the stars of the same color to make the constellation appear.
- There are lots of grammar and spelling mistakes (which can be excusable, since Phoenix Games was based in the Netherlands):
- In the rules for the Kite minigame, the word "balloon" is spelled as "baloon".
- Repetitions abound in every sentence (e.g.: "The treasure of the Wild Planet is protected by wild plants").
- Mia and Julie often say "lets" instead of "let's".
- The game over screen states "Game is not passed".
- The Wild Planet minigame, which is a basic side-scrolling platformer, is extremely cheaply programmed. Pressing the X button makes you jump always to the same height, regardless of how long you hold down the button, unlike virtually every other platforming game. The backgrounds are the same image of a forest copied and pasted over and over, and because the enemies and items are placed on the map with no rhyme or reason, you will often find yourself taking damage from enemies blended in the environment (the fact that you have no means of attacking enemies doesn't help, either).
- The last five games are reskins of the first six ones.
- Sea Fashion is a reskin of Fashion Planet;
- Beach Decoration is a reskin of Flower Planet;
- Diving is a reskin of Wild Forest;
- Wild Safari is a reskin of Last Minute Cleaning;
- Constellations is also very similar to Kite.
- The game as a whole makes no sense. In Last Minute Cleaning, where Mia and Julie's spaceship is stranded on an uncharted planet and about to explode, and you must collect as much as you can in one minute, you must find and collect items to go to the beach. The appearance of the spaceship is also inconsistent, going from a giant crystal ball in the opening to Fashion Planet, to a double-decker plane in Last Minute Cleaning, to a giant flying house in Spaceship.
- The Spaceship minigame, a basic clicker game where you need to find items hidden on the screen, is incredibly easy, and there is virtually no punishment for making a mistake. The items you need to find are barely hidden, and stick out like a sore thumb.
- In Diving, you can stay underwater with no time limit and no requirement to resurface to breathe (unlike many other similar games), and the background consists only of a sunken ship and a rock repeated ad infinitum. The poorly placed enemy placement is also cranked up to eleven, as the enemies will often swarm you with no time or room to dodge them, and your only option is to take damage.
- The game is incredibly cheap even by Phoenix Games standards. At the beginning of the game, you are just dumped into the main menu with no explanation (not that there is a plot to speak of). Even the Phoenix Games logo, which always appears at the start of their games, doesn't appear here.
- The game has no ending. Once you've completed all minigames, you are just booted back to the main menu, and not even the credits are shown. At this point, there is even nothing else to do, besides replaying one of the other minigames.
- The pacing of the game is incredibly uneven, as every single time you fail a minigame, you are forced to wait out a loading screen (which, in true Phoenix Games fashion, takes forever to fully load), after which you are booted back to the menu, where you need to select your minigame again, wait out another loading screen and the game's explanation, and only then do you finally get to actually play the game.
- The cutscenes are just plain images with text (though knowing Phoenix Games' previous track record with animating and voicing cutscenes, this could be a good thing). In one cutscene, Mia's hair is carried away by the wind, while the grass isn't. In another, Mia and Julie are just floating in space with no protection equipment.
- In the Flower Planet minigame, you press Left and Right on the controller to move a flower left or right, L1 and R1 to choose a different flower, and L2 and R2 to move up or down, which is confusing and makes you lose time on the timer.