Have You Played… HORSE MASTER?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Remembering my playthrough of HORSE MASTER [itch site] is like recalling the details of a vivid night terror. You are training and raising your horse to take part in a mysterious but renowned contest of some sort. But this is not the horse world as you horse know it. This is a throbbing contortionist of a tale, equal parts underdog sports story and disturbing dystopian body horror, all with some gamey stats and a management system thrown into its Twiney heart.

It’s also our 30th best free game and we don’t muck about with those list features. It’s good. Even the names of the breeds of horses inspires concern. Maybe you’ll take care of a “Carolina Coffinbreath” or a “Furioso-Hellfist”, whose huge frame is “not outside the scope of the theoretical musculature load” according to the horse salesman. There are so many instances of writing like this: unsettling, curious, scary.

One thing you should know if you do intend to become a Horse Master: don’t let that picture up there fool you. You should never EVER ride a horse.

10 Comments

  1. Kreeth says:

    I did enjoy attempting to bring up my (Horse, definitely NOT hellbeast) from what I remember. One of them did something to me in my sleep though. The Tentacles! The TENTACLES!

  2. GreetingsEarthling says:

    Oh goodness, is that man wearing anything besides his hat?

  3. escooler says:

    My favorite writing in any game, exactly the kind of writing I enjoy, kind of reminded me of the monologes in blue jam. Did anyone get any suggestions of Horsemaster esq games? (the other twine games by the same man are equally great).

    Adam

  4. GeoX says:

    I did indeed. Deeply unpleasant–as, of course, it was meant to be.

  5. Kefren says:

    It doesn’t seem to work for me any more. The link just brings up error messages, and the download is just a pdf. Has the game died?

    • ansionnach says:

      Couldn’t get it to work from this link or a few others I found elsewhere. Watched a video on youtube. Like many of the games in the RPS best free games list, it’s a free novelty but struggles with being good or even a game.

      • April March says:

        In my opinion it is a very good game and you have very narrow frames of reference for both of those words.

        • ansionnach says:

          The game’s whole premise is based on a revelation that’s needlessly opaque and anti-reader. Even Mass Effect let you choose a colour.

  6. Metalfish says:

    If you crossed David Foster Wallace with an insomniac biologist and one of those dreams that’s been lurking around your subconscious all morning -one of those almost unremembered thoughts that some uncritical part of your brain has accepted as a genuine experience until your mind’s eye gazes upon it and you feel detached and frighted at the revelation your reality is ultimately untrustworthy- this is what you get.

  7. Ejia says:

    That was nice. I love my monster horse beastie!