Review by Arkrex
"Cheaper than a real horse"
6 weeks of hard training and study? Doesn't sound too good there... but if caring for horses and indulging in a bit of equestrianism is your kind of thing, this game has just ridden right up to your alley.
Visuals - 3
Sound & Music - 2
Gameplay - 2
Controls - C
Longevity - B
Replayability - C
Difficulty - Easy
Girl Power - 5
MY VERDICT - 1.5
Horsez spans a 6 week period over which you will have to prove your worth by participating in various activities in a prestigious riding academy. You plan out each day by selecting 4 tasks from a selection of 7. This means that you are in full control of what you want to do for each virtual day. The activities are split up into study, care and training.
Training exercises will have you riding your chosen steed in cross-country races, equestrian competitions, or even just to find your way home! Controlling your horse can be done with either the stylus or the buttons; both are functional, but the touch-screen's response to your strokes isn't very intuitive and so you're better off with the traditional control method anyway.
Riding around is fun for a while, but it can be hard to go at it for extended periods seeing as you are always riding around on the same beaten track day-by-day. To break the monotony of riding around all the time, some other events, like the dressage, change things up a bit by taking direct control off of you. In exchange you will have to tap out targets that appear on-screen in order to carry out your horse's appropriate actions. It's always nice to see when developers attempt to add some variety into the mix, but these sections aren't any better than riding around, which as I mentioned gets old fast.
If you feel like resting up a bit you can choose to hole yourself up in the library to read about various horse-related facts, or chill out with your fellow classmates in the common room to catch up with the latest gossip. Games like The Sims have shown that even these menial tasks can be made interesting, but in Horsez you don't gain anything from being social or anti-social in any circumstance. Taking a break here simply means not riding.
The best thing that Horsez has going for it is probably the care-taking aspect. You will have to groom your horse on a regular basis and make sure that the stable is always fit for er... well a horse. Touching and dragging rubbish off the floor and redecorating with new patches of hay, and then having to clean your horse up spick-and-span by scraping rocks of its horseshoes and hand-washing it with soap and water it's not something we would want to do in real life, but just like in Nintendogs, it's fun as long as we don't dirty our physical selves. However, you don't get the same satisfaction with a clean horse as opposed to a clean, cute little puppy dog.
Horsez also allows you to customise the look of your character and your horse. You obtain tokens by completing activities to a high standard and these can be exchanged at the store for new jeans, rider uniforms, hair dye colours, blankets and saddles. There isn't a lot to play around with, and the effect is purely cosmetic. This isn't The Sims as I've already alluded too, but it definitely could have had some more bulk to its bare-boned features.
This game isn't for everyone, and if anything only horse-fans need apply; if you are, then great! This is also a strictly girls-only game, as demonstrated by the female-only lead character by the name of Ginger. Horsez doesn't do better what others have already done, but it's an alternative for those who have gotten fed up with little pups and are looking for something bigger and more mature to spend their time with.
- Animal care aspect utilises touch-screen features well
- Riding horses gets boring
- So too does reading about it
1.5/10 - This is a promotional review...
My Score System a score of 7 from me denotes a good, solid game. Excellence earns a higher grade, whilst 4-6 reflects a below average product; glitchy, unplayable games deserve less.
17/04/07 - Adapted from my original work featured in NZ GameConsole magazine May '07
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 04/27/07
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