By John Walker on November 18th, 2010 at 2:18 am.
Following on from Farming Simulator and The Antiques Roadshow, my appetite for high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled gaming entertainment has become insatiable. I MUST HAVE MORE! I must play the demo for Planet Horse.
Let’s think that world through for a moment. An entire world devoted exclusively to horses. What evolutionary path would they take if neither tamed (nor eaten) by humans, nor preyed upon by predators? Would they have developed cars? If they did, would they have gone via horse-drawn vehicles? Subjugated horses forced to pull along carriages containing the privileged ponies? Surely the size of elevator button necessary to accommodate a hoof would limit the potential height of buildings? These are all questions I would want answered by a game with such a name, but absolutely nothing in this demo indicated the matters would arise.
In fact, this appears to be a planet of horses and humans, with once again humans in control. This is a game so squarely aimed at young girls that it doesn’t even contain an option to play as a boy. Only girls like horses. You can create your own horse at the start with a reasonably detailed horsey-character creator, that for some reason also includes a zebra. Clearly I chose to play as a zebra. Called Gluey.
In the demo you have access to a brief example of a few bits and pieces the full game (£15) has to offer. You can go for a walk picking up freakishly large pinecones, floating on some sort of alien column of mystical light, brush the dirt off your horse in the stable, practice jumping some fences, and spend some “coins” on new equipment for your horse, or even your own character. I bought her a nice straw hat.
If this is any representation of the full game, then it’s about as involving as an empty shoebox. The nearest you get to anything approaching a game is the jumping, and this requires you to click your mouse three times. Don’t have your hand mysteriously fall off midway through and you’ll likely win the event.
The camera, madly, cannot be rotated freely, meaning (with the lack of direct control) turning corners requires you to click somewhere near the edge of the screen and hope the camera will eventually catch up. But hey, it’s all very pink, and little girls like pink, right? It’s for girls!
Goodness knows, the full game may go on to offer some of the most extraordinarily realistic and compelling equestrian gaming this side of Red Dead Redemption. Unfortunately they’ve not shown any of this in the demo. This SEXIST demo. There, I just said it.