Horses 3D

The all-ages horse simulation game Horses 3D has sharp graphics and sound among authentic scenarios on the Nintendo 3DS.

Players interact with horses from 16 different breeds in authentic situations that yield rewards, fun challenges, and memorable caretaking experiences, especially for younger players. Double digit aged girls are the obvious target, but the lessons, content, and simple gameplay open opportunities for all ages.

The simulation beings with player choices of horse breed, which  includes Akhai-Teke, Appaloosa, Hanoverian, Mustang, English thoroughbred, Arabian thoroughbred, quarter horse, and French saddlebred. All the characters are female and players can choose male or female when customizing their horse – no performance differences between the two.

Players also choose their player name, horse name, favorite color, favorite music style, and favorite equestrian sport before heading off to the races…and show jumping, cross-country riding, equestrian vaulting plus many other activities.

For horse health, players mainly must keep their horse watered/feed, which covers overall horse mood, and out of the red, namely the horse stamina status icon, located in the upper left, green. Red means low health so just slow the pace by pressing down on the left analog stick, which also controls direction. Use the Y button to speed up works well, but it would be nice to be able to hold down on the Y button for the same effect. Players must press the button each time to increase from a trot to a full gallop for races.

Riders don’t have to worry about their health like the horse, but do have some basic social elements that factor into the gameplay. These elements include base relationships like a best friend named Janet, Mister Wilson, and manager Elizabeth – a boss who is sometimes cross. As these relationships progress, the game reveals reasoning behind actions and requests so players get a deeper experience than “go fetch this”-type tasks without understanding the logic behind the requests.

The strong graphics, featuring the option 3D feature, infuse the game with a nice sense of exploration and adventure. Wind effects and tangible textures provide an appealing look. The only real visual snafu is some horses’ tails movements in full animation, which resembles a beaver’s tail at times. The sound effects enhance the environmental experiences amid many free roaming situations where player make several choices with helpful visual aids.

Instructions and dialogue require considerable text reading though the game is fairly intuitive with helpful icons and light beams showing progression points, so players can whip through missions rather quickly. Related tasks like hoof care, currying, washing, feeding, grooming, and bathing have nice variety and rewarding results. More button use than the touch controls might not showcase the 3DS touch capabilities, but keeps the screen clear for more player enjoyment.

Training the horses involves stunt riding, jumping, and dressage while other activities include forest patrols, horseback tours, and four racing types. Players can pause the action at any time to check horse status, access the diary, check inventory, reference guides, and view the achievements list.

Game developers offer a nice balance of primary, online interactivity, secondary activities including the overall precious gem collecting featuring 50 total and special rewards for every 10 gems found. Card collecting provides some nice variety as well. Buy cards with coins and exchange cards using the StreetPass feature. Card exchanges expand the game with more unlockables like new content, special events, and horses.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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