Planet Horse is a horseback riding simulation game that focuses on enjoying the ride and stressing less about the controls. Sure, actual horseback riding requires some well instructed rein handling and some professional coaching, but in a simulated environment, complicated controls never impressed anyone. And this is why we love this game. Not only does it deliver the concept of horseback riding in such beautifully rendered images, it also makes riding your horse and making it jump over obstacles plenty of fun.
Release Date: 17/11/2010
Available on: Mac Games, Windows Games, Downloadable PC Games
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Stress Less, See More
The game takes on the idea of riding a horse and breaks it down to three simple events: riding, cross country tours and show jumps. Each of the three events focuses on one particular aspect of horseback riding, though all three share the same control system.
The riding events are unique in such as a way that there is no definite track or route to be taken and the only limit to where you go is how much stamina your horse will have. Here, the objective is to collect as many of a specific item as needed. There are optimum routes that will conserve your energy in order to get the maximum amount of items required.
Show jumps are special competitions that measure the rider’s skill in both steering the horse and timing jumps. As the name suggests, this event focuses on jumping more than actual racing. Last is the cross country tours; this event is much like the show jumps but it focuses more on racing than the jumping. In both, this cool horse game requires players to reach the goal line under a certain amount of time and with the least amount of penalty points.
Doing all three events is made easy with the simple one click control system of Planet Horse. The game focuses on just the use of the mouse over everything else. There are no hotkeys to remember – just the mouse and the buttons. In fact, the two mouse buttons do exactly the same thing so pressing any of the two will work (which is a big help for left-handed users).
Simplified controls however, do not translate to a simple game. Planet Horse has a wide diversity of events as mentioned above and allows players to do other things such as buy new clothes, riding equipment and even groom their horses. The challenge level is also pretty well made. Nothing that a hardcore gamer cannot handle, but many casual players will enjoy the thrill of matching fast running times in the later events.
The View from the Saddle
Planet Horse looks and sounds really good. Most of the time, you and your horse will be out on some course and you will be greeted with nicely rendered backgrounds and the the thumping of hooves on the ground –and it feels just great.
The visuals are nicely detailed and focus more on showcasing a nice vast horizon –emphasizing a much larger world outside the game’s borders. The two continental locations: Europe and the United States, have vastly contrasting settings making each uniquely breathtaking. Of course, the real star of the game is the horse, which is customizable in breed, coat and print patterns. Your steed is also so well animated that you could watch it gallop across the course and not mind anything else (though you should if you are in a race).
Getting back to the sound, the lack of tracks makes the BGM pretty repetitive. Fortunately, the two tracks are not that distracting to the gameplay. There is plenty of great sound effects, from the rustling of leaves to the crashing of waterfalls in the background and as we mentioned, the satisfying sound of hooves hitting the earth. Be sure to turn up the SFX for this game if you want to get into a riding mood.
In the End
Planet Horse is, by all means, a game for young ladies. But despite that, it still offers plenty of content that will be appreciated by a wide range of players – mostly regarding the horseback riding portions. For its small size, great controls, nice visuals and massive gameplay content, Planet Horse manages to deliver more than we could have ever expected for it. We give this cool horse game a trotting mustang’s 87/100.
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Planet Horse is developed by Big Fish Games.