Girls Overboard is a mix of Match 3 game and a Slot game with adult dating sim coat added on top of those filled with mobile game mechanics that is questionable depending on how you look at it.
You’re introduced to the “Net” where you play a slot-esque mini game with a goal of getting coloured gems 3 in a row either horizontally or diagonally. Landing similar gems in those order will determine the total set amount of gems and other power-ups you will get which are either then added to the Match 3 mini game or be used to aid in this Net minigame.
First bit to the first mobile game mechanic shows up here. The amount of times you can play the slot (Net) game is depending on the amount of energy you have. A spin costs 100 Stamina and it recharges over time slowly initially. To overcome this, you can buy a power up from the game store to fully charge your Stamina or buy clothes for the girls to help it recharge faster.
Next we have the Match 3 section. Similar to other Match-3 games the rules are the same fundamentally. In Girls Overboard, getting 3 in a row will give you “Dust” of the Gems of that colour that you matched. The more Gems you connect at once, the more dust you will get. These Dust are used to craft items such as rings, necklaces, earrings and more as gifts you give the girls.
Everyone Likes Gifts
Giving the girls a gift will improve their relationship with you, with every milestone, acquaintances to friends to dating will unlock more story beats. Leveling up your character through the Net game will unlock more girls for you to woo over and also increase the amount of Stamina you have and the items you can craft.
More mobile game mechanics are felt when progress initially is very grindy. To progress with the girls, you have to play the Match-3 game but that game limits itself by giving you a certain amount of Gems. To get more Gems you have to play the Net game, to play more of the Net game you need Stamina, to get stamina you would either have to wait or do it the mobile game manner by buying Stamina through in-game store, using actual money.
There’s a Toll on the Road
Every bit of progress in this game can be expedited with you spending more money. Either that or just be patient and stick it out, wait for your Stamina to recharge so you can play the Net game and if you’re lucky and time yourself well, you can level up from there and get more Gems. Then you would need to play more strategically in the Match-3 game to get more Dust.
Maybe, Maybe Not?
On one hand it could be the microtransactions are in place to even out the cost as the entry point is low so it can usher in more players. But on the other microtransactions are in place so it is up to the players to decide how much they want to spend on the game depending on our enjoyment. But as we all know it’s human nature for some of us to open up our wallets just so we avoid being inconvenient because all we want to do is play the game we bought.
It’s unfortunate that these types of practices are included in a priced game, even if it’s on the cheaper side. The art in the game is good, voice acting has effort put into them. But the gameplay loop is rather simple and most of the thought seems to be directed elsewhere.
Only recommendable if you have the patience to not spend. Otherwise this type of practice will leave you with a bitter taste.