Help, I'm addicted!
A few years ago I would have never dreamed of a pony game on my phone, but it exists and I have to admit it's a very addictive game.
The title screen of Gameloft's new game is quite pink when you consider a large portion of their downloads are bronies. I guess if I have a nice, new pony game to play I can ignore the pink for a little while. (Seriously though people I would buy non-pink ponies too!)
Actually I guess I didn't have to buy anythng because the game is a free download. I like ponies and I like free, what's not to love?
How about nightmare moon? This image is from Gameloft, but as far as I am aware, the big baddie doesn't show up like this at all in the game.... yet.
There really are a few bad things about the game but I'd like to save this topic for a little later. First let me tell you a little about the game.
The "plot" of the game boils down to nightmare moon threatening Equestria and turning the world dark. Many of ponyville's citizens have fled, but Twilight Sparkle and her dragon friend Spike have a spell to bring light back to Ponyville. You progress by purchasing shops and then ponies to work in the shops which produce harmony shards and more bits (money) for you to purchase other things. Once you have a certain number of bits you can convert a patch of dark land into light and then build on it. In the map grid are 6 harmony stones that need to be activated by a certain number of harmony shards. It sounds silly, but it actually works pretty well as every patch of land costs more than the previous patch so you can't just breeze through the game.
In addition to buying shops, ponies, and objects you need to level up your pony citizens so that they can take more advanced shop positions. You level the character up by playing mini games with them. There are two mini games where you earn experience points for the pony. One you earn a whole "star" of points you play a different mini game called magic wings to collect gold and level up.
Each pony character gets a temporary set of butterfly wings to try and collect coins while avoiding storm clouds and shadowbolt ponies.
If I stopped here you would think the pony game is pretty darn good for a free game. Beware former farmville addicts! But the game has quite a few problems that do impact the enjoyment of the game. The problems boil down to cost and general bugs.
The bugs in the game are numerous. Many users have experienced problems trying to connect with friends and sometimes really bizarre things happen. One time after visiting another player's town my game had Twilight Sparkle arrive in the town (effectively the same scene as the beginning of the game).
I think free games have a weird balancing act to play. People have spent a lot of time and effort coding and promoting the game, so they need to make money on the game somehow. This game has bit currency and then crystal currency, the "premium" currency of the game. Some ponies and objects are only able to be purchased with the crystals, but in-game generation of crystals is very slow, so one solution is to purchase more with real money. But someone has hacked the game and did the math and to only buy the needed objects to complete quests you would need to purchase $260 in crystals!
I am not willing to spend $260, but I would have been willing to drop $1-2 here and there for special downloadable content or special items. Unfortunately my available quests are all impossible for me at the moment because I can't spend the crystals required to purchase the items needed and I refuse to buy them with my real money!
To summarize I think this is a game where you get what you pay for. It's a free game and cute but very buggy. Hopefully a success with this game will let hasbro know that we would very much like a bigger, better pony game.