We’ve had plenty of spins on the management and farming sim hybrids over the years. Sometimes you’re a bear running an adorable Bed and Breakfast. Maybe you’re just your own self, magically transported into the world of Disney. What I’ve yet to see until now is the tried and true formula of restoring a town to its former glory while undergoing detailed horse bonding, care and riding. Until now. Look no further than Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch, a freshly released game fitting the bill.
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch features a fully open world to explore. Migrating to the ranch owned prior by your Aunt, it is up to you to restore it to its once-former glory. What this entails is gathering materials and undertaking quests provided to the locals. Across your journey, you’ll rebuild destroyed structures and add new ones, along with general decorations about the field. On top of all of that, you’ll foster a family of horses found throughout the wild. You can develop bonds, wash and clean them or stumble on random traits per horse that’ll change their behaviour. You’ll engage in races, unlocking further interconnected areas and more.
I’ve spent some time with the game myself at a recent Plaion Spring Showcase. While not perfect, what impressed me most was the colourful and open world. It’s not necessarily graphically intensive but seamless travel between areas with little to no loading screens goes a long way in encapsulating some of the magic on offer. Often I’d travel off the beaten path and be rewarded with nothing more than a vista above a clearing. Simple, but effective and delightful.
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is available now on PlayStation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch and PC. Horse girl gamers (I know you’re out there) hungry for a nostalgia trip akin to Barbie Horse Adventures and other games of that ilk may want to check this one out.