The problem with horse themed computer games is that they are always geared towards one very specific demographic; six to ten year old girls. While there is nothing wrong with this, the main issue is that the toy industry sure loves to drown “girl” toys in the world of make up, dressing up, fashion, manicures, barbie, super models and all things glittery.
I love horses, so I do like to play horse computer games and watch horse themed television shows while creepily pretending I have my own horse and that I even know what I am talking about when it comes to riding competitions.
(The Saddle Club, the best kid riding tv show ever. I still ship Stevie and Phil so hard.)
Obviously, real horses don’t have sparkly pink manes with glitter heart tattoos on their asses, but a good percentage of horses in computer/DS games do. I can’t seriously pretend I have my own horse if my horse is hot pink and named Sparklez.
Thank god for Saddle Up with Pippa Funnell. Seriously. This is the coolest, different and entertaining computer game all centred around horses, competitions and renovating a stud farm. Did you hear that? You get to renovate a stud farm, not go off to a tacky mall to buy a new rainbow coloured saddle for your glittery artifical looking horse! (Note: all the horses in Saddle Up are all natural looking, and gives you information on each of your horses, including what breed the horse is.)
The first thing I want to talk about is the storyline of this computer game. Most horse computer games are incredibly formulaic and there is little storyline, or close to none. Usually you are given a horse and there is a shit load of grooming and training in the exact same ring. Then, at the end, you take part in a major competition, win and the game is over. Saddle Up is anything but. The game begins when the main character, Estelle, inherits her great aunt’s stud farm in the wake of her great aunt’s death. Estelle quickly learns from her solicitor that since her great aunt was a very “eccentric” woman, she has put many clauses in her will before Estelle can fully renovate the stud farm. As Estelle, you are able to choose new buildings, vehicles and training locations each time you win a competition, (which, there are several, and they are all in different locations, thank god.)
The next thing I absolutely love about Saddle Up are the characters. In the typical girly horse games, you have one dimensional, plain Jane characters that have no backstory whatsoever. In Saddle Up, you get loads of characters Estelle interacts with that have history and personalities.
The reason I just love Saddle Up is because it has everything I could ever want in a good computer game. I’m not a hard core gamer, so obviously I’m not super picky on graphics; but the plot, the characters, the entertainment level? 10/10.
I highly recommend this to anybody looking for a horse themed computer game with more content besides grooming your horse and shopping for it.