Let’s Ride! Best in Breed 3D
Genre: Pet Simulation
Developer: TREVA Entertainment
Publisher: Smackdown Productions
Release Date: 9/26/13
After downloading the game I felt a sense of deja vu so strong that I assumed there was a glitch in The Matrix. Last year I reviewed a game that was nearly identical to this game in almost every aspect, but that game wasn’t a Let’s Ride game, it was called Riding Stables. Sure enough they share the same developer. In fact this very game was released under a different title overseas under the name My Foal 3D. No glitch in The Matrix after all, just a similar game made by the same developer, only this time with the focus on foals instead of grown up horses. Who doesn’t love baby horses?
Like Riding Stables, Let’s Ride! Best in Breed 3D falls squarely into the Stable Simulation/Pet Management category, with the game broken down into mini-games to reflect what it might be like to own and train a foal and compete in small events.
The game starts with letting you create a foal. The model for the foal stays the same no matter which breed you choose, with a slider to make the foal a little thinner or thicker depending on your preference for the amount of junk in your horse’s trunk. The foals look cartoonish and not meant to look entirely realistic, which I didn’t mind. They look good on the 3DS screen and have a fuzzier look to them compared to the horses in Riding Stables.
There isn’t much of a plot aside from that you work in a barn that takes care of foals. Customers comes and drop their foals off and entrust them into your care so that you can help train them or fix some of the problems that they are having. What little plot there is gives you excuses as to why you are taking care of specific horses, as well as giving you specific goals to try an attain. While light on story elements, there’s enough to give context to the actions you take in the game.
The game is divided into eight mini-games. There are only eight and they’re not deep, so let’s take a look at what you’ll send most of the game doing:
Feeding – You dump oats into a trough. The game will allow you to shake the oats out of a bag, for which you have to hold the DS level and turn it to the left and right to distribute the oats. When the foals first comes into the stable you can feed them with a bottle that requires holding the bottle correctly. It’s simple but kind of cute.
Watering – There’s a hose and for some reason the guy holding the hose is a jerk and keeps moving the hose back and forth and you have to tilt the 3DS forward and backwards to compensate for their inability to hold still.
Grooming – You rub down a horse with a brush, removing the dirt from it. There’s a shadow horse on the bottom screen and you mime moving the brush along it. You also shampoo and rinse the horse off after.
Petting – You can call the horse over to you and pet him/her. Doing well will make the horse roll over in a ridiculous way, that while adorable if you attempt to rub a horse’s stomach like that in real life it might lead to a foal murdering you with a hoof to the head.
Leading – Select a harness and move the 3DS in a way that will keep the horse on the screen until the time runs out.
Playing – You throw a ball (or Frisbee, or other toy) toward a cone and the horse will fetch it. You tap the screen to fill an on screen meter for how hard you want to throw it.
Teaching – Teach the horse tricks. This takes a page from Horse Life from the 3DS and involves a simple rhythm game that is meant to sort of reflect the movements of the horse.
Jumping – The horse takes control and you’re input is limited to swiping the stylus in the indicated direction on the bottom of the screen. Do well, the foal jumps. Do poorly and they get sad at your inability to perform basic tasks. I’ve also been informed by my wife that you do not jump foals and that all involved in making it seem like it is okay to do jump practice with a foal is a terrible human being. She was very specific about this.
Like Riding Stables before it, Let’s Ride! Best in Breed 3D is a great way to show off the 3DS. The 3D effect works well and most of the minigames involve some combo of touch screen, mic, controls and gyroscopic movement. The game uses Play Coins for additional content and if you remember where you put your AR cards you can take pictures of your foal just sitting around your house.
The minigames however are kind of bad/not fun. Most are short, and you’ll have to repeat the Feeding/Watering/Grooming activities often. They’re so mind numbingly simple that they are not fun to repeat over and over again. These are typical chores for taking care of a pet and if they’re meant to feel like chores, then Riding Stables has succeeded. Every single minigame is very simplistic and though the game ups the difficulty for the timing of some of them, they are never hard to get an A+ grade in unless there’s an earthquake or you have a seizure.
The game also supports Streetpass multiplayer in terms of beauty contests where you can win prizes for beating another player. There are also unlockable horse types, toys, halters and more that can be purchased with Play Coins, though most are just aesthetic changes that don’t change anything in the game. The ball and Frisbee are identical for how they’re thrown, etc.
While Let’s Ride! Best in Breed 3d certainly isn’t a challenge for adults, and it may not satisfy the horse purist or the hardcore gamer, the audience it is intended for would be more forgiving about the grammar, typos, repetition and lack of difficulty. For younger audiences the game looks good and is adorable. While I prefer games with horses in them that aren’t pet management simulations, TREVA Entertainment makes some of the more enjoyable games for this genre, so if your younger child is interested in this type of game it is one of the better of the bunch currently available on the eShop regardless of my personal opinions about it.
Short Attention Span Summary
It’s a Pet/Stable Simulation with ponies and a focus on easy to play minigames. It’s a decent title for a younger audience, though if you don’t have a pony fixation Riding Stables by the same developer has slightly more content in terms of mini-games.