148Apps Network Post
Developer: NaturalMotion Games
Price: Free
Version: 1.1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to be all that into My Horse when I first downloaded it for review. I’m just not a horse guy. That said, I was completely blown away by My Horse. It’s not what anyone would call “exciting,” but it’s a fantastically made freemium game that doesn’t penalize players for failing to spend real money on fake money.

Everyone starts off with one horse. They can name it, interact with it a bit, then start feeding and caring for it through a series of pseudo-mini-games. As with virtually all free-to-play games most of the content is tied to actual time, so a lot of activities and tasks can only be done once every hour or so. Of course, the longer the task the greater the rewards. Fortunately it’s not all about waiting for the count-down timer to hit zero. There are other things to be done during that downtime that either recharge within ten minutes (grooming, cleaning the pen, etc…) , or take no time at all (petting and feeding).

Most of these activities, especially the show tasks like hurdles and cones, would probably seem much less interesting if it weren’t for My Horse‘s exceptional visuals. The riders may look like they’ve been dragged up from the deepest, darkest depths of the Uncanny Valley but the horses all look great and animate almost perfectly. On the gameplay side of things, there’s almost always something to do. When players aren’t “cashing in” completed timed tasks involving equine hygiene or riding lessons, they can train for shows, compete in shows, dust off their horse, feed it, clear out its exercise area or buy prettier tack to improve its score during one of those shows. Certain items or feed will require gems (the in-app-purchase currency of choice), but earning these gaudy rocks isn’t all that tough. And in the case of the special feed, it’s not even necessary as the horse regains energy pretty fast when it’s not exerting itself.

It’s a little disappointing that all of the other horse breeds aren’t really breeds, but rather new textures on the same model. I imagine this was done to reduce memory usage and storage space, but it’s still kind of a let down. It’s also a shame that the list of “quests” (or tasks or whatever) only ever displays two at a time. It makes tracking active ones tougher than it should be when there are three or more of them.

My Horse has done something I never expected an iOS game to do: awaken my inner 9 year-old girl. If someone had told me a month ago that I’d actually be interested in horses, much less fully invested in a horse care simulation, I’d have openly laughed at them. What a difference a game makes, huh?

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