You will start Horse Club Adventures by customizing your character and mount. The synopsis is simple: your friend Hannah, also a rider, invites you and your horse to spend a holiday with her group of friends: Sarah, Lisa and Sofia in the countryside. You will settle in Hannah and his family during this getaway. At the end of your two week vacation, a horse racing tournament will be organized. Will you be the big winner?
The power of friendship
The story of Horse Club Adventures could come out of an episode of Full gallop but a bit more mature, here the girls seem a little older while remaining good-natured teenagers. The scenario does not break three legs of a duck but it is true that it is pleasant to let yourself be rocked by a simple story breathing friendship, fresh water and … the horse. On the other hand, if there is mention once again of “coffee muffins and smoothies Saddles & Cup“, I throw my Switch out the window. And yes, because when you go on vacation to the countryside in the cambrousse, the various city activities are rare and since there is only one café in all this cambrousse, you will hear about these pesky smoothies at least 25 times a day.
Besides, I hope for you that you are not allergic to turns, U-turns and returns. Here, no practical teleportation point from one key location to another (well no the game would be completed in five hours …), everything is done on horseback. And so that will be how you spend the vast majority of the game: on horseback moving from one place to another. Sometimes you will quickly talk to an NPC or have a few interactions on foot that will vary the gameplay slightly when you need to find things (or humans!) lost in an area. Unfortunately there too, Horse Club Adventures laziness: often the items won’t even really be modeled and you’ll just see a yellow circle glittering where the quest item is. Strong point for the quest where we must find the lost cats, which this time are truly drawn and which will require you to climb a pile of logs to find one. This change in gameplay was very appreciable, however, given the problems of object collisions for example we understand the limited number of activities to be done on foot.
A country adventure
To spice it up a bit, you can discover photography points during your walks or collect clothes, also accessible as quest reward. However the different collectable are scattered in different places on the map, and these are places you will only visit occasionally if ever. Indeed, the quests of Horse Club Adventures only asking you to move from point A to point B, it will ultimately be useless to direct you to a place in the unexplored area, especially as they are often deserted. Moreover, since the game relies on the pleasure of horseback riding, more varied or pleasant settings would have been preferable but the graphics remain honest and the colors are very vivid, a palette common to games focused on a young audience. It is all the same extremely unfortunate that the player does not have mini map for orientation. Indeed you will have to consult the map each time you want to go somewhere in order to know which path to take, not very practical on horseback! Note also the redundancy of having at the end of the day the obligation to speak to Tom who will then let us bring hay and water to our horse’s enclosure.
The Horse Club Adventures characters are not highly developed (don’t expect tragic backstory) but to overcome this they sometimes have a little weird character traits: Tori is introduced as being a kind of “bad guy”, or rather pimbêche, but we do not really know why? Unless wearing makeup and being rich is a crime … Sarah as for it has as one and only center of interest the sheep. Yes it is quite special and almost obsessive because it is literally the only thing that interests her, she will even ask us to come home alone so that she can observe the sheep for a few more hours… Why not.
Watch out for sabotage
The controls used are sometimes surprising. In menus and even everywhere else in fact, say goodbye to directional keys, everything is done with the analog pad which leads to a crucial lack of precision when, for example, one has to navigate in the customization sub-menus and the pad keeps sliding towards the mother dividers when trying to choose a color. B to continue the dialogue instead of the usual A which is however used for all the other interactions and when the text scrolls too slowly, impossible to press B so that it is fully displayed, the B key at this time making it go directly to the text bubble next. In addition, the vertical axis is automatically inverted without the possibility of modifying this, visibility would therefore have been facilitated with a completely fixed camera but here it is controlled with the right analog pad which significantly impacts the playability of Horse Club Adventures at the beginning. Fortunately, we will quickly get used to this eccentricity and we will hardly have to touch the camera anymore.
Horse Club Adventures will also offer you different racetracks but these will be optional (quite surprising when you know that the final event of your vacation is a horse race in which you participate) and not very interesting to practice: it will be enough to hold Zr to gallop and continue to advance when the endurance bar recharges, you will also sometimes need to jump to avoid some obstacles. The races will also be terribly long (for example 5 minutes to beat for an easy mode) which will quickly make you want to train. To take care of your horse, you will have to brush it and clean its hooves, it is very unfortunate that the developers did not think of using the touchscreen of the Switch which would have been perfect both in terms of immersion and fun.
Horse Club Adventures, on your whips!
A slightly soft but honest gallop – 70%
A slightly soft but honest gallop
We must put back Horse Club Adventures in its context, it is a game oriented for a younger audience but it seems to target a very specific slice: more mature than for children, more naive than for adolescents, one could classify it in the slice of games for teenagers prepubescent. It is a fairly scientific formulation but which allows us to situate ourselves; the game is either too simple and cutesy: repetitive quests and without reflection, scenario with rose water or a little difficult for a child to take in hand with older characters (and therefore themes that do not concern him so much).
Despite the difficulties encountered to fit right into the desired category, Horse Club Adventures still tries to simplify the life of the player and offers a story, ultimately, quite interesting. Several times I found myself impatient to know what would reveal the various mysteries dotted in the side quests of Granny. It is above all a good breath of fresh air that we take with Horse Club Adventures which will allow us to dream a few moments and indulge in a little silliness ; a little break that breaks nicely with the thankless tasks of everyday life. Unfortunately, the game could have been even better if the few technical problems spoiling the scenery a bit had been resolved.
- An adventure that breathes good life
- Lots of customization
- Quests that make you want to know the rest
- Lengths in completing quests
- Not optimal controls