If you ever asked for a pony at Christmas or a horse your birthday and only received the “My Little” version, making you bitter for life, then it might be time for a virtual option to soothe your wounded soul. My Horse, the universal app for iOS, gives users a chance to take a virtual horse and care for it — think upscale Tamagotchi with more class as well as pixels.
With trusty stable hand Dan by your side, users will develop a bond with a horse — if you can get it to come to the fence, that is. The animal itself is extremely realistic, both when it runs around its pen and when it’s standing in the forefront, flicking its tail and shaking its head. Once you’ve tamed the animal — a stroke on the nose and a carrot ought to do the trick — you can name the horse.
My Horse is made up of mini-activities to earn coins, which you can use to upgrade your tack or buy meal recipes, or gems that can speed up gameplay. Activities are geared toward making your horse happier and healthier, and include tasks such as feeding, where you’ll create a custom feed mix, or grooming, in which you wipe the dirt from your horse. Users can also assign Dan tasks, like mucking the stalls to keep the animal in good spirits.
To earn more cash, your horse can give training lessons or you can opt to train and compete with your steed, but you’ll need to keep performing all the basic tasks in order to level-up and unlock all of the levels. My Horse also offers a social aspect that allows friends to come check on and care for your horse and vice versa. Or you can snap photos of your animal and share via email or Facebook.
The major drawback of My Horse is that most of its gameplay occurs “off camera” — you’ll never see the horse give a riding lesson, for instance. There’s a considerable amount of waiting, too. When you select tasks to perform, the app forces users to wait a specific amount of time before they can complete the action. After completing a competition, the app will send a push notification when the results are in, so at least you don’t have to sit in the app doing nothing at all.
Even still, I can definitely see kids getting addicted to caring for My Horse. Parents should be advised that gems are available for in-app purchase, ranging from 20 gems for 99 cents to 2,500 gems for $99.99. That could add up fast if not monitored properly.