Published on June 29th, 2013 | by Kristian Ivanov0
My Little Pony Review
As someone that liked the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I thought this might’ve been a good game. The videos and screenshots I saw all indicated that it should be an ok cow-clicker game, similar to Farmville…but once it was released, I was shocked just how bad a game of this type can get.
NOTE 1: This game is really hard to describe while keeping the focus on a single aspect, so this review might be slightly off the usual structure.
NOTE 2: The screenshots used are of version 1.2.5, which doesn’t have a certain graphics bug. More information is given in the review.
My Little Pony is a game published by Gameloft. The idea is to just place buildings, which will generate you coins and other resources. There are two types of buildings:
- House – where a pony lives. Those don’t do anything other than allow you to have the specific pony it’s meant for.
- Shops – buildings that generate you income. They require that you assign up to three ponies in them. The more you have – the more income they provide.
Just like other cow-clickers, you’ll also want to expand your available terrain so you can place more buildings or decorations on it. This is done by using either the coins you obtain from the shops, or by spending real money, and after each expansion, the next one will increase the cost. As you keep building and collecting resources, you’ll eventually level-up and the game will allow you to build new, higher-level stuff, or bring in new ponies.
The ponies you obtained also need to be leveled-up to be able to work in higher-tier buildings. You level up ponies by playing mini-games with them, which vary in type. In each game you pay for a score multiplier which allows you to level-up faster, or in the case of later ponies, is a must to make any progress at all. The multipliers cost you either coins or gems.
This brings us to the three currencies in the game:
- Bits / Coins – regular currency, obtained from any shop you have.
- Gems – real money currency. There’s a low chance of finding a gem when clearing parasprites (will get back to it later) and for every 5 consecutive days, you’ll get 3 free gems. There are also a few missions that give you a gem as a reward.
- Hears – social currency, only obtained if the people in your friends list send them to you. You can only have/send 1 gem to a person every 24 hours.
While at first these currencies seem pretty reasonable, later on in the game, the coins and hearts become pretty much useless, while the gems skyrocket in value and need. Once you reach about half-way in the game, your coins will stock-up to an absurd amount, you’ll already have all ponies that required hearts, and all missions left will require that you purchase stuff that is really expensive in gems. Personally, I reached a point where to complete a single mission, I either have to play 4 months every day, or pay $6 to get the gems needed…and that’s just one of the 3 available missions, the other two require just as much.
Speaking of missions, the game actually has a storyline. It’s pretty much a re-tell of the idea behind the show pilot episodes – Nightmare Moon returns, covers Ponyville in darkness, and Twilight Sparkle must find and activate the Elements of Harmony to defeat her. In this game however, those elements are represented in a statue form. Once you find one, you’ll need a certain amount of “element shards” of the same type to actually activate it. You get those shards from the buildings you have. At first this seems simple enough, you get a good amount of them from buildings, but later, you’ll find that two types in particular are next to impossible to find…and on top of all, you need those shards to remove parasprites. Parasprites are small fly-like creatures that appear at random on the map and prevent you from building there. To remove them, you need element shards of a matching color…however, it seems like the ones that appear the most are the ones of the rarest element type. I reached a point where I need over 100 shards of the rarest type just to clear them…and later a ton more to activate the element statue. One interesting thing I should point out is that you cannot buy shards even with real money.
The missions themselves are not really related to the story, they are just a thing to keep you entertained while you’re hoping to get the number of shards you need to active a statue. They range from “build a shop”, “buy a pony”, “build some decorations” and “collect something from a building a few times”. That’s about it.
Now, let’s move to the design aspects. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see a well animated and very colorful game…however, if you’re like me, you’ll just see a game with washed out colors. Ever since it’s release (with the exception of versions 1.2.4 and 1.2.5), the game has had a color issue on the Samsung Galaxy S2 that messes up all the colors in the whole game. Gameloft has been made aware of the issue since the first release and yet the problem persists even to this very day. Other serious issues I’ve came across are huge battery drain and big framerate drops, especially when there are many parasprites around, which in my case, is nearly everywhere. For a cow-clicker game, this is unacceptable. Even games with really high graphical details sometimes don’t drain so much battery or drop the framerate so low. On the other side, the music is pretty cool. It’s mostly remixed versions of instrumentals from the cartoon show, and they’re well made. The ponies themselves also have some voice acting provided by the original show’s voice actors.
The amount of ponies is also pretty large. All of them are well animated and even when they’re just wandering around the map, they often group-up and interact through various animations…it’s actually pretty cool to see if I have to be honest, it does simulate a somewhat “social activity” that gives you something to look at while waiting for a building to get you resources.
Now a few words about the monetization…this one is pretty bad. As I said, the game essentially forces you to pay…this is to be expected for a cow-clicker game…but the amount you have to pay and the times you have to do it is just absurd. Some ponies and buildings will cost you up to $50 each. While people might argue, this game is aimed at a young audience, having prices like that is not acceptable by any means what so ever, especially since those buildings and ponies are nothing different than the other ones (the buildings generate more coins but that’s about it).
Overall, this game is a disaster area. What Gameloft is doing here is essentially exploiting the fans of the show, while ignoring the community’s requests for something as simple as bug fixing. A very unbalanced game mixed with a predatory business model and optimization that makes you wonder what happened to your phone or tablet’s battery, make a game you might want to avoid.
Summary: A highly unbalanced game, plagued by bugs and predatory business model you might want to avoid.