A surprisingly engrossing MLP:FiM Farmville-style game
I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan. I enjoy it, but from a slight distance. Nevertheless, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a MLP game for the iPad/iPhone.
The first thing I noticed about the game is that it ranks high on accessibility. Unlike every other game I have ever seen, this one always provides text accompaniment to the audio, including subtitles for the opening sequence.
The next thing I noticed was that the game has tapped the primary voice actors to provide the voice-overs for the game. Rather than getting sound-alikes, or recycling old sound clips (as in The Simpsons: Tapped Out). Although I should add that so far I have only heard from Princess Celestia, Spike, and Twilight Sparkle.
As for the graphics, some of them are better than others. The graphics and animations in your main Ponyville screen are pretty great. And it's surprisingly entertaining to watch the ponies going about their business, doing their little sprite animations (as when Twilight Sparkle flops down to read a book). However, the animation in the mini-games is… let's say "a little rough around the edges." I am particularly vexed by the jaggy edges and the weird leg configurations found on the ponies in the kickball mini game.
Let's talk about these mini games. I understand that the game is intended for kids, not (e.g.) 40 year old women. Nevertheless, the games seem needlessly simplistic. If an eight year-old kid can play Mario Kart, I seriously think they can do better than the kickball and apple-catching games. At least the flying game requires a modicum of timing.
Meanwhile, other things seem needlessly complicated. I still don't fully "get" the process for assigning a pony to a shop. They need to have the right star rating, and it costs money and takes time, and I'm not entirely sure why I should bother. You have to juggle about five different calculations when making this decision. It seems like the game needs to find a balance between that level of complication, and flicking a big rubber ball in the general direction of Cheerilee's head.
That being said, I have found the game to be surprisingly engrossing. Last night I picked up the game and later was surprised to look up and discover that an hour had passed.