May 12, 2009

Video games, anyone?

Let's Ride
Silver Buckle Stables

Mara here. I got an e-mail recently asking me what I thought of reviewing horse-related games, and I thought, "Great! There's no way I'm doing that!" So here we have our first excited volunteer. Everyone meet Aimee. She's our video game and whatnot guest reviewer until she feels like not doing it anymore. And with no further ado...

Okay, let's start -- I'm a bit of a gamer. I play Sid Meier's Civilization, SimCity, Transport Tycoon Deluxe, and Railroad Tycoon. Mostly strategy or simulation games. But I also like horse games. I don't have a huge collection yet, but I'll do a few reviews of what I do have. First off -- Let's Ride! Silver Buckle Stables. This is one of my first horse games, so I may be a bit biased, but whatever.

Description (from Amazon):
You're the owner of a new horse farm, Silver Buckle Stables! Choose your horse, pick out your riding outfits and even accessorize your horse with saddles, ribbons and more. The competitions are tough, but practice hard at the corral to perfect your riding technique and you'll make it to the Equestrian Center where you can show off your skills to win blue ribbons and buckles!

When you first start, you get to choose whether you're a girl or boy, then you get to customize your character.

Then you get to choose your horse. One great thing about this game is that there are plenty of ways to customize it, unlike some other games where there's only about three or four different coats.

The game is about Western riding and competitions -- and there's little irritation. When you're riding the horse, the character is holding the reins with both hands, as in English riding. There are lots of trails at first, but after a while it gets boring and makes you wish you could import your own maps. I will say now this game has pretty decent graphics for being a budget game.

This is a pretty easy game. No plot, and if you want, you can just ride around the trails all day. Grooming and feeding is simplistic. A bit too simplistic, but at least you're not spending 5 minutes grooming after every ride (as some games make you do.) In the barn, you can also pick up treats -- when you feed them to your horse, their levels in the health meter (lower left hand corner) go up. Good idea to always carry a few.

As you go through competitions and get "Silver Buckles", the horse's "hearts" increase. Which makes it "run" (huh?) faster and increases the effects of treats. As well, you get more customization options, and you get to pick out more horsies! Yay!

In total you can have four horses. Once you're done all the competitions and exploring the trails and stuff, there's not much left to do. And it does get repetitive after a while. And if you like a challenge... this isn't for you.

One last thought: It's fun to gallop through the streambeds trying to avoid the rocks!


Heather said...

Good review Aimee!! Strange coincidence, I just got this game not that long ago, and was thinking of doing a review, but yours is great! Keep 'em coming!

Another game I would recommend is Lucinda Green's Equestrian Challenge (three day eventing)

I will add that Silver Buckle Stables is unique in that there is a very small number of western riding games out there.

Bookworm said...

This looks so fun! But it sucks how all of the GOOD games are not Mac-friendly. Boo hoo!

Monique said...

Equestraid!!!!! I think that's the name. Someone needs to review this game. I loved the famous riders you can play as.

Aimee said...

Aimee here. I wish I could do more games other than the small collection I've got, but it's awful hard to order stuff online when you (or to be more exact, my mom) don't have a credit card and the bank doesn't agree with PayPal. So I'll be scouting out the stores around the area. See if Staples (only place where you can really get PC games at around here) can order anything in.

For the Mac user -- This may be a bit geeky, but I think if you have an Intel-based Mac, you can dual-boot it with Windows.

There is one other Western game I have, called Let's Ride! Corral Club, but it was awful.

Heather said...

"There is one other Western game I have, called Let's Ride! Corral Club, but it was awful."

Review it!! We love awesome reviews of awful things!

Aimee said...

I'll be sure to soon. Once I reinstall it. (I lost my old computer a few months back because a power spike fried the RAM and the rent-to-own place figured they'd save money by giving me a better one at the same price.)

Aimee said...

Okay, I'm struggling to install Corral Club, even after deleting installshield files and editing the INI files and using compatibility. Next step? Most likely manually extracting the files from the installer and seeing if it'll run then.