Whether right or wrong, mobile phones games that veer away from the traditional routine of blasting, warring and general destruction have a tendency to get labelled as 'games for girls'. In a time where, for once, the gender gap in gaming seems to be closing thanks to ultra-mainstream platforms like the DS and Wii, it's a little depressing to see such an uninteresting segregation of male and female audiences.
Heartbreakers is a game that's very likely to end up on the side of the fence decorated with targeted ads for lifestyle magazines, lip gloss and Lindsay Lohan's exclusive new range of hosiery. However, if we're to take the demographics of teen comedies as any guide, Heartbreakers is much more likely to appeal to the 16-24 male crowd.
You play as horny young stud Danny as he cheats on his long-term girlfriend, then desperately tries to keep it from her without letting his new floozy catch up to the fact that he isn't a single man. It sounds more like a script for a film co-starring Jason Biggs than the usual horoscopes and hearts fare we've come to expect from a lifestyle title.
Largely driven by plot, Heartbreakers is broken up into acts and scenes, much like a play. For the most part, all you have to do is choose Danny's responses as he tries to fob off his parallel partners Leanne and Suzie. Choose a particularly misguided response, of which there are many, and you'll lose a life. Run out and it's game over. You can save your game between scenes though, and you regain your lives between scenes too.
In order to break up the text, there are also mini-games between each scene. Complete them and you'll get an extra life for the next round. Although obvious gaming hors d'oeuvres, these are fun, with a matching puzzler, a maze game and a pipe-twisting game on offer.
You could argue that these interludes aren't even entirely necessary anyway, as the script is generally well-written, funny, avoiding the flab of real-life conversations while coming across as impressively naturalistic in its dialogue. That's without factoring-in the amusing situations your character manages to get himself tangled up in towards the end of the game too.
The narrative is amplified perfectly by the attractive stylised visuals. For each dialogue response you pick, you can watch as Danny's face contorts from apologetic puppy dog eyes to a flirtatious smile. Your conversational partners are similarly animated, with their moves well-synchronised to your double-dealing mind games.
Although not explicit in any way, Heartbreakers doesn't shy away from adult themes as you try your luck keeping both girls on side in every respect that you might expect. It's this cheeky liberality that stops Heartbreakers from ever seeming contrived in what is, as an interactive book or sorts, a contrived form. There are even some different story paths to go down along the way.
However, Heartbreakers isn't a game you'll want to play that many times, even though you are given high score-like rating after each scene. Much like watching a film, you'll ideally want to have forgotten at least some of the story before returning for a re-watch.
Like a good film though, Heartbreakers is thoroughly entertaining throughout. As an interactive adventure, it fits in well with AMA's other lifestyle adventure titles like Love Triangle, My Bridezilla and Speed Date. With similarly strong writing and visuals, each should please a slightly different type of gamer. However, if you want to don the mantle of a playa, Heartbreakers comes recommended.