Kids love horses, especially young girls. So it’s no surprise to see a take on Nintendogs based around horses. The Whitakers, a family of professional showjumpers including the famous John Whitaker, have presented a game all about caring for horses. It also stars Milton, who is apparently back from the back after his death in 1999 and can now talk. Creepy.
Milton & Friends eases you into the gameplay slowly. You start by taking care of a worn-out horse called Stewball. You start off by cheering him up in the usual Nintendogs manner: stoking the silhouette on the bottom screen and giving him treats like carrots. It teaches you the four basic bars you need to keep an eye on: hunger, thirst, cleanliness and morale and how you can keep on top of each one via various minigames. You also earn horsey points, which fills up a bar showing the overall development of your horse.
First up is bottle feeding, where you have to angle the bottle so your foal can drink, but not too far as to choke him or her. Once you’ve finished you’re given a ranking from D to A+ depending on how well you performed. The higher your mark, the more horsey points you earn. Once you’ve filled a quarter of your horsey points, your foal moves onto proper foods and liquids and two minigames are needed to satisfy your horse’s thirst and hunger. Both of these require the gyroscope to aim hay and a hose – the latter is surprisingly difficult due to the force of the water constantly changing, meaning you need to keep adjusting the 3DS.
Once you’ve been shown the basics, you have the ability to create your own horse. There are plenty of breeds as well as options for colour, mane and design of the stripe on your horse’s forehead. The horses are nicely detailed and covered in fur, which does look a bit long for a horse. The stables are nicely detailed with plenty of different themes to choose from. The horse looking directly at the screen also created a nice 3D effect.
Each main activity you do with your horse takes the form of a minigame. To clean your horse you need to dust, soap and rinse your horse through the touch screen – the time limit for this is surprisingly tight. Take your horse outside and you can take part in various activities. Doing tricks takes the form of a rhythm mini game, and showjumping requires precise timing. The main focus of the game, however, are the quests.
Well, the word “quests” make it sound more than it is, as they all use the same basic rules as looking after your horse. Throughout the game, other horse owners will ask you to take care of their horse, as well as giving you various objectives you need to complete, mostly in the form of making the horse feel better via various methods. Completing these will unlock new items and breeds for you to use. These quests give an incentive to carry on playing, and will help keep the interest of younger kids. On top of the quests, there are also trophies to collect by performing well in all the different tasks.
Milton & Friends is a well-made game which lets you look after your own horse(s) while also letting you look after other horses in order to complete quests. There is plenty to do and provides reasons to carry on playing. After a while the minigames do get repetitive, but looking after different horses and taking part in competitions help mix things up a bit.
- Plenty of activities
- Lots of quests
- Fair amount of unlockables.
- Can get repetitive
- Lacks the Nintendogs “magic”.
A pet game that isn’t simply a clone of Nintendogs, with some real effort put in by the developers.