In The Ungulate Nebula: Planet Horse Demo

By John Walker on November 18th, 2010 at 2:18 am.

It would be a lot easier just to go around the fence.

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.

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56 Comments »

  1. Ph0X says:

    Seriously, this is why I love Rock Paper Shotgun. Tedium, Farming simulator, and now this? You guys are on a roll.

  2. Mister Yuck says:

    Sexism? In video games? Impossible. You must be one of those dangerous Feminists I’ve heard so much about.

    • Cooper says:

      We’re highly dangerous. Burning bras with flagrant disregard for basic health and safety.

    • Xercies says:

      Its political correctness gone mad!

  3. Quasar says:

    Is there a man with a gun in it?

    • Weylund says:

      If you lose, a horse trailer arrives from the knackers and a creepy fellow with a limp who smells of cordite and Vaseline says that your horse looks delicious. So yes, in a way.

    • Spacewalk says:

      If you lose you get to go to the glue factory but the horse won’t be allowed to.

    • Xercies says:

      If you lose the Pigs will rule the farm.

  4. The Hammer says:

    I LOVE HORSES

    BEST OF ALL THE ANIMALS

  5. OptionalJoystick says:

    It can’t be all that bad- it’s got horse hats.

  6. MrEvilGuy says:

    Anybody who buys this for their daughter is perpetuating harmful sexual myths about what it means to be a female.
    So is raising your daughter in society. Shame on you!

    • noom says:

      Having to raise my children in society is precisely what puts me off having them :(

  7. Horza says:

    From the title I hoped it’d be like Planet of the Apes except with horses.

    I’d play that game, but not this one =/

  8. Gotem says:

    Even the home page is all pink letters with seizure inducing pink butterflies

  9. WiPa says:

    Just another TF2 ripoff.

  10. MrBRAD! says:

    Pfft lame. What you want to check out is Snowcat Simulator. Words cannot describe this (official?) trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKip-9RaUX0

    … actually, I like how you can give it a hat.

    • Oozo says:

      I’m a bit disappointed now. I expected a game where you could play as a snow leopard, leaping from tree to tree (or from slope to slope, or whatever it is that snow leopards do).
      Still, pretty remarkable: The youtube-video seems to run in higher resolution than the actual game.

    • Quasar says:

      I love the fact that over half of the trailer was spent trying to fix a physics bug.

    • OldRat says:

      Awww, I thought it said “Showcat simulator” and thought it was a cat show simulator :(

  11. Matt says:

    Are the zebra’s stripes randomly generated? Or does everyone have to play as the same clone-zebra?

  12. Ted says:

    off-topic: anyone else notice the sudden arise of spam less than a day after the catchpa is gone?
    dam, they move fast

  13. earl says:

    I must play the demo for Planet Horse..

  14. Meatloaf says:

    Planet Horse! I love these things. Please keep doing them.

  15. TeeJay says:

    I remember being very disappointed that PC Gamer UK had a ‘promise’ that they would seek to review every PC game released in the UK, yet even though their own games top-20 sales chart included Pippa Funnell: The Stud Farm Inheritance they never reviewed it (or any of the Pippa Funnell series – Pippa Funnell Takes the Reins, Pippa Funnell 3: The Golden Stirrups Challenge (aka Horsez) and Pippa Funnell 4: Secrets of the Ranch). I emailed them and posted on their forums but never recieved any explanation of why they apparently refused to review these games.

  16. DeepSleeper says:

    Would you please set up a compare and contrast, or perhaps a regular review, of Secret of the Magic Crystals, which is also a game about horses except some of these horses have wings and/or on fire? I wish to know which is a better purchase for a hypothetical youthful female person. There are five different fantasy horse and 4 training filed. Surely that counts for something.

    • adonf says:

      I’d buy a game about setting horses on fire. Horses or dogs or houses, or just… stuff

    • The Hammer says:

      “In this game your horse-breeding farm is animated in a fantasy surroundings. The game enables you to breed legendary horses such as Pegasus, Unicorn, Fire-steed, Ice-steed and Demon-steed. You can buy more than 700 objects, and you can make all kinds of horseshoes as well as lots of magical potions for your horses through the game. If they are exhausted or ill, you are able to cure and look after them. Your horses and colts need lots of care and that’s the way they recover their strengths. You can train your horses on four different fields in five levels of difficulty. You can even breed them in order to have more talented horses. Different horse races help you to gather 25 kinds of cups and you can send your horses to complete 30 exciting missions.

      Real time weather and season changing.
      5 different buildings and over 5 levels to upgrade your buildings on your farm.
      5 different fantasy horse.
      Interactive horse caring.
      More than 700 items to decorate your stable.
      More than 30 kind of magical potions.
      More than 30 kinds of magical horseshoes.
      4 training filed to train your horses, 5 difficulty for each.
      25 cups to win on horse races.
      30 quest to find the lost magical crystals. ”

      Oh my god; who cares about Episode 3 now?!

  17. Skusey says:

    Going by the shot of the hat, you can also give your Zebra leg-warmers and slippers. Someone’s been stealing my style.

  18. Out Reach says:

    Glue Factory was the better horse. because he was a horse.

  19. noom says:

    I am disgusted by all the ironic machismo in this game.

  20. adonf says:

    “spend some “coins” on new equipment for your horse”

    So the e-currency for the item shop is called ‘coins’ ? What will they think of next…

  21. Pundabaya says:

    I don’t get horse love in general, horses scare the shit out of me. But these horsey games always seem exploitative. I can see the scene now, ‘I’m sorry Suzy, but we can’t afford to spunk 8 grand on getting you horse and all the gear and stabling and feed and vets bills and riding lessons (and about 5 grand per year thereafter…. Seriously,do you want a cocaine habit instead.. its cheaper). We also can’t afford to just get you riding lessons, at 20 quid an hour, plus apparel. (and I complained about CODBLOPS only lasting 5 hours… Fallout New Vegas would cost 800 quid at those rates!) Instead, we bought you this barely interactive game type thing, that, shit though it is, you’ll love because its the closest you’ll ever get. ‘

    It’s sad. And all of these games suck ass. They know their audience is horse-struck young girls, about the least critical audience ever.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Actually I think it’s the parents who are uncritical. The kids will quickly go back to Nintendogs or [DS game du jour] if horsey simulator sucks or is frustrating.

  22. Kefren says:

    I expected it to be about the sequel to GT, where you join the Houyhnhnms and finally decide to wipe out the Yahoos. Horses with guns.

  23. Brumisator says:

    I have a “friend” that has too much money, and like to pollute his acquaintances’ Steam games list by gifting them “Petz Horsez 2″. I think he’s given away about 50 copies by now, he must be their primary source of income.
    The dame game won’t even run on windows 7.

  24. oceanclub says:

    I once part-owned a racehorse. It was cheap because the horse had injured itself and the trainer was a recovering alcoholic.

    It fell badly in its first race and had to be put down.

    I did not get any glue.

    So ended my month-long foray into the king of sports.

    P.

  25. phlebas says:

    Girls are like every other mammal. They love horses.

  26. cov says:

    This game needs zombies

  27. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    I think I killed a horse in fallout 3 and then ate it.

  28. RaveTurned says:

    I can’t wait for this game to be featured in a “Wot I Think” article.

  29. track02 says:

    Peter Nincompoop?

  30. stahlwerk says:

    Fun Fact: Zebras are less horsey, or pony-ey, but more donkey-ey.

    Bonus fun fact: Zebras are pretty shitty to ride and tame (see common donkey ancestry, but we’re working on it), so for “Sheena, queen of the jungle” they took a white horse and painted a fake pattern on it.

    • cov says:

      Fun Fact EXTRA:

      Zebras communicate through MYSQL and PHP.

    • Dood says:

      Fun addendum: You can easily tell Zebras and Horses (even with a zebra paintjob) apart by the size of their ears. Zebras have the big furry donkey ears while horses have smooth ridiculous micro-ears. Also donkeys are just better.

  31. Sandy_Ravage says:

    No one? Srsly? This game looks straight up beastin’. These ill-equipped riders gonna get snortified…stompified…glueified! That’s just how we ride…

  32. Flatfingers says:

    For what it’s worth, most “equestrian” events (dressage, hunter/jumper, cross-country) are indeed dominated by girls — by personal observation, I reckon probably 95% of riders are either teen girls or veteran women, all of whom are completely mad for horses. So I see no sexism there.

    The implementation of this game, however, seems bizarrely ill-suited to attract horse-mad girls. This has more the look of a program that someone else would buy a horse-mad girl on the theory that “it’s something to do with horses.”