I tested the My Horse & Me game on a Nintendo DS Lite console, and soon found it quite absorbing. It’s not as stilted as some other equestrian games I’ve seen – Atari has obviously studied the natural movement of the horse, and the rider, at great length.
Users choose their perfect horse and give him a name, in a truly personalised game – I named my bay choice ‘Ben’.
The huge plus point is that the game encompasses equestrianism as a whole – as well as competition, it includes sections on horsecare, where the horse will refuse to perform for you if his stress levels rise too much due to poor ‘riding’. There is also a ‘shop’, where you can exchange points for kit, and lots of practical trust exercises to build the horse/rider bond.
This is great for educating kids on the different aspects of horse ownership – although perhaps they may not quite appreciate factors such as the financial commitment and the true effects of horsecare surrounded by pelting rain and howling winds, while curled up on their warm sofa with their games console…
My (rather large) bugbear is the lack of riding hat as standard on the riders – to my mind, the characters should always be shown wearing a hat, yet my character was merrily jumping fences without one at times. I am amazed that this got through the safety censors!
The game is very playable, and perhaps reminded me that my turns to fences could be improved! I found that ‘Ben’ would only jump when totally straight to the fence – no angled turns here! I also managed to get lost on one course when Ben refused – I made a turn, became confused and ended up jumping the course in reverse! Yes, this did make Ben rather stressed, but a few taps of the relevant button and an apple made all the difference…
My Horse & Me from Atari is available for Nintendo Wii, DS and PC. Click on the links below to purchase the game from amazon.co.uk