Petz Horse Club (Wii) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 03.12.2008

Review for Petz Horse Club on Wii

Saddle up boys and girls as Ubisoft invade the Wii with another animal breeding sim in Petz: Horse Club. The game falls under the regular Petz line and a new "Games For You" range featuring everything from being a fashion designer to teacher, ballet star to master chef.

The story… There's a story? There is and we end up following a young lass known as Lily. The girl has a special gift; the ability to tame wild beasts. We're sure her parents would be proud, very proud. She's got a history of sorting out the most fearsome critters, and for Horse Club there's no exception - Lily heads up against the mustangs from Wildmountain Reserve. Will she save the poor horses, and will she overcome her past Carla Van Guinness? Venture through the story mode and you may just find out!

Interestingly enough, the fairly regular plot is something that makes this iteration of Petz slightly different from the last - there's a fair bit more depth then one might expect, but still fairly lacking. Generally we've got our breeding element, where you've got your horse standing about waiting to be pampered and be equipped with a lot of bling - from your essentials, reins, saddle to some more aesthetic gifts. After you've sorted out your horse, you're greeted with a list of missions and objectives, collecting, competitions and mustangs you've befriended.

Each of the horses come with a profile containing the expected attributes: name, gender to some environmental features: temperament, favourite fruit and cleanliness. Throughout the reserve players will be trying to make friends with a whole variety of horses, and, pardon the pun - it's not just a walk in the park. First off, the approach. Like a stalker would, you'll be creeping up on your new friend and tapping A to gain its trust. Some will pelt it away as fast as they can, others will not be so reluctant to come a little bit closer. To gain trust is the hard part, you'll need to judge emotions, reactions and slowly tempt the beast with fruit and possible a stroke or two. While in general it's not a difficult task, sometimes it's just too irritating to be bothered to make the leap.

Aside from the ol game of catching wild animals, you can care for your trusted friends by washing them, petting, brushing and picking their horses - Ubisoft have hoped for more fun and accessibility packed in, so it doesn't quite reach a realistic level but for the most part is simple, yet works. Better groomed horses supposedly make fo9r improved speed and turbo boosts (from where, it's bum?), but generally we felt there wasn't too much difference in a dirty old champ and his cleaner chum.

Screenshot for Petz Horse Club on Wii

Control wise we've got the expected Wii remote and nunchuck configuration with no alternatives, using both to move your horse from left to right - tilting the nunchuck to veer left, and the remote to head the other way. This setup initially sounds very confusing and somewhat unusual for moving around on screen, but does become easier with some practice. Using both for moment does seem odd, but is a neat idea of mimicking holding a horse by the reigns in reality - it's disappointing not having more traditional schemes however.

After completing the main game, which can be whipped through in several hours or less, there's chances to continue to befriend wild horses, enter competitions and care for your beasts. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for fans of the Petz series it seems a good sign of improvement.
Those who want something useful to do with their well-earned horses can take part in equestrian events, these are essentially the non-simulation action games where you can do some neat hurdle jumping in an enclosed area, head around in a cross-country open area or race through a series of checkpoints. For the most part the three different modes are a good start to taking the whole pet simulation into a more action-orientated environment, and having some use to sitting and breeding.

Graphically the game isn't going to win awards for the most breathtaking American-ranch inspired scenery, but it isn't the worse of the bunch - we've got some fairly decent modelled horses, generic characters and simple grass, trees and so on. There's little to no effects, so it does seem to lack a sense of life and things happening , though does benefit from smooth enough animation of your horse trotting and jumping around.

Screenshot for Petz Horse Club on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Petz: Horse Club is not the worse game to grace the little white box, but could have been a lot more in terms of presentation and tightening the control setup. Petz have been shunted by gamers for appauling presentation, especially in Dogz earlier this year. Fortunately Horses does show signs of improvement, but should really have taken inspiration from My Horse and Me.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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