- Release Date: April 23, 2012
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Genre: Simulation, Pet
Horse Haven is a casual social game where you can mange your own horse ranch, train, breed and raise your champion horse in order to win competitions. The game is developed by Ubisoft which also publishes social games such as Rabbids: Invasion, and newly announced Ghost Recon Commander.
No other game proves to possess both pleasure and annoyance at the same time like Horse Haven.
This game guides you with an unusually long tutorial in which you have to follow exactly what you’ve been told to. Whatever else cannot be done. Whenever you need to place a certain purchased item on your ranch, you have to put it in the highlighted position. As you remove weed from your friend’s ranch, no matter how many piles of weed are out there, you have to wait for the tip and click the required one. You can, of course, skip the tutorial, but in a simulation game like this, you’d better learn everything in tutorial to proceed and have fun.
Like in many other simulation games, you have to purchase items and build and upgrade all kinds of facilities on your ranch, clear rocks, dead trees, weed and ruins and provide food and drink. Horse Haven, however, revolves around horses and provides detailed and personal experience. You will never have problem in knowing what is on your horses’ mind. Everything they have in mind is illustrated above their heads. Hence you are supposed to act accordingly: pet horses, feed hay, guide horses to water troughs, clean the hoof, allow them to sleep, brush the hair, and offer treats. Then the horses will be happy, and you can send them to Petting zoo and you will get about forty horse bucks. The cycle of petting, tending, grooming and giving treats repeats at short intervals. Several cycles later, the horse will have its upgrade, which does not synchronize with your upgrade. Through upgrades, they gradually grow from cute cubs with round and naïve eyes to beautiful mature horses. Once horses grow old enough, they will have access to mating and competing. You can also have your home bred offsprings.
In Horse Haven, you cannot click a place on the map and enter it directly. You have to use the transportation tool: bus. So, a horse bus stop must be there on your ranch. Though I could expand the ranch not long after I started the game, the land is still too small and when I instruct horses to do something, there is always no path for them. A trough, the bust stop or even another horse is in the way. I have to rearrange the locations of those items to clear the way several times.
Naturally, Horse Haven also incorporates the money-driven energy system which interrupts progression all the time. It is often the case that I have to engage myself otherwise while waiting for the refill over time. I have been granted with several energy packs, but those only offer like one or five energy points.
It may be under the influence of the prolonged tutorial that I realized very late that the dialogues are too long for one to care. There are several NPCs assigning tasks, and every time a new one appears, he or she gives a redundant self-introduction and an excessive introduction to the incoming task. That is upsetting but acceptable. But it turns devastating when I was tasked with sending a horse to a Saddle Seat Competition in Croupton. I didn’t manage to squeeze my horse into any competition even after going through almost everything on the interface and reading the Croupton descriptions on the map for five times. Game help of Horse Haven on Facebook didn’t help and I stopped searching when I entered “how to send horse to competition in horse haven game” in Google while the first entry was “How to Send a Horse to Heaven…” I really wish I could ask the developers face to face: where are the long and detailed tips when they are really in need?
Facebook games always disgust me with the requests concerning friends. Horse Haven seems perfect at first on that front because upon each progression, it displays a dialog box where you can choose either to publish or just to confirm the rewards. But it soon degraded to something annoying too. I have a friend who’s playing this game and I didn’t waste any time in considering which friend my gift goes to. But it was not long before I could only send gifts to those I haven’t offer any presents-or in my personal view, who never played this game. It seems that Horse Haven wouldn’t stop to target all my friends until I stop playing. Every now and then, it reminds me to send gifts to friends, and I ignore that since.
Presented in bright and lively colors, Horse Haven really is a joy-at first or, when you are willing to pay, hopefully.
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