Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch from Microids and Aesier Interactive is a colorful journey in which you must rebuild the estate to its former glory. Check our Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch review!
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch from Microids and Aesier Interactive is a colorful journey in which you must rebuild the estate to its former glory. Your aunt Josephine, who owns the horse estate, has sent a letter for you. While visiting on vacation, you end up realizing that the estate has fallen into pieces, with nothing more than rubble and rubbish remaining where once glorious buildings stood tall. It’s now up to you to find a way to fix everything and get the estate going.
The good news is that you won’t be taking on these tasks on your own. You’ll be joined by Gabriel, who just happens to be the town’s mayor. There’s also local woodsman Mattéo who can help by providing you with lots of materials to rebuild the destroyed bridges and buildings around the area. But to be able to rebuild everything, you’ll also need the help of architect and master craftswoman Noella, who will provide you with her help and with some blueprints to build this and that.
The first step in Horse Tales will be to choose your character. Select between a male or female character, and then choose its skin color between light beige, medium beige, light tan, rosy beige, dark tan, medium brown and dark brown. The next step is to select your character’s eye color between green, blue, turquoise, grey, amber, hazel, and brown. Once you’re done with that, you must pick a hairstyle! The options are straight fringes, short spiky, high ponytail, pixie cut, wavy bob, braided pigtails, curled pigtails, long ponytail, short mohawk, short hair, medium ponytail, or wavy bun. The last option will be for your character’s hair color, with the options being ash blond, gold blond, light brown, auburn, dark brown, mahogany, and black.
Once you’re in control, you’ll move around with the left analog stick as you look with the right one. You can jump with the A button, and can sprint by pressing and holding down the B button. When riding a horse, the A button will make the horse jump, and the longer you press the button, the higher the jump. The R button will be for ducking. When you need to call the horse to your side, all you need to do is press the X button. Oh, and when riding around you can press the Y button for a power stomp.
After arriving at Cape Emerald, you’ll be able to ride one of the horses at the estate. Check the available horses and pick the one that will be by your side. You’ll have to care for your horse, which is why you can pet its neck by pressing up on the D-Pad, scratch its chin by pressing left, pet its head by pressing right, and scratch its croup by pressing right. Every horse has different preferences for what makes them feel comfortable, so you should try each action to see how it goes.
For each horse, you can check an overview that will provide you with some extra information about it. You can select to rename a horse, look at its traits, stats, family tree, and more. You can check its breed, height, weight, owner, likes and dislikes, condition, stats for endurance, agility, strength, luck, and charisma, as well as its traits. These can include if it’s a sand lover, if it’s out of shape, how it feels about the dark, and if, say, it’s a nosy horse that will wander around when dismounted, which means you’ll have to keep an eye on it so that you don’t lose it!
By pressing the + button you can go into the story menu, where you can review the map so that you can see where you’ve been and where you should head to. To make it easier on you, there’s the option of zooming in and out as needed with thee ZL and ZR buttons, and you can also mark a location with the Y button. From this menu you can also review all of the missions that you can take on, as well as the rewards you’ll get for completing them. These objectives are split into main missions, side missions, and horse missions. Horse missions can include riding your horse for a long distance, or helping it get used to dark places by petting it when entering caves or very dark woods.
And then there are the different items that you can collect during your adventure. These include construction materials for building stuff, such as pipeclay, which is found in sandy areas and beaches all over the peninsula, oak wood (which is the most common type of wood in the peninsula), or brownstone. There are also food items to feed your horse, as well as quest items needed to progress through the game – like the canister of gasoline that you need to bring back to someone so that they can use their chainsaw to remove something that is blocking your way.
Once you have enough resources, you can build stuff with them. The first thing you’ll do is fix a bridge on your way back to the harbor to collect a quest item. After that, you’ll have to collect blueprints and enough resources to rebuild your estate. Just interact with a building slot to open the construction menu, and then choose what you’re going to build. You will start by building a camping come, since you don’t need much resources for it. You could also setup a new garden to decorate your estate.
An important resource is fame. You need to make a name for yourself on Cape Emerald by gathering game. You’ll gain extra fame by exploring the peninsula, competing in races, as well as selling horses that have been properly trained. Once you’re well-known around the area, you’ll be able to expand your estate even further and gain access to homesteads around Cape Emerald. Do know that you’ll have to ride a better horse than your starting one if you want to win some races!
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is a game that has some potential for being a fun all-ages experience. The game is, unfortunately, hit by several issues. When the game loads, everything stops, making you think that it has crashed. Your horse can end up clipping through objects, flipping over and standing vertically. Controls feel off as well, with a slight delay between when you move the left analog stick to steer your horse and when it responds. There’s also plenty of slowdown and pop-in to consider. Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is out on Nintendo Switch with a $39.99 asking price.
This Horse Tales: Emerald Valley review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Microids.