Also available on iOS
Adventures in Equica: Unicorn Training is a game that I have wanted to review for a long time. See, this was the first full release from Yotes Games, and Yotes is one of my absolute best friends. Unfortunately for me and my aspirations of reviewing my friend's game, he made Unicorn Training BRUTALLY difficult. Despite that difficulty, however, I stuck with it WAY longer than I normally would have - I'm usually pretty quick to get frustrated and rage quit - and saw it through to the end. It was important for me to play through his game and feature it on my blog to support Yotes. And if the art from the game doesn't make this apparent enough, the game is inspired by My Little Pony (I mean, Yotes and I met at BronyCon).
The game plays like a fairly standard action RPG. You play as Clover, a unicorn mage training under the unicorn master Swirllock. Swirllock has left on a journey because plot device, and Clover has been left to continue her studies and training on her own. There's a village where you can talk to other ponies, and you can go into a forest south of the village to grind on some monsters to gain experience and level up your spells. The main game, however, takes place in the magic dungeon beneath Swirllock's house. You choose a dungeon floor by selecting the spell you want to unlock. After you select the spell to unlock, you enter the dungeon and complete the themed floor which consists of nine rooms the last one being the boss.
Each dungeon floor has a different theme - ice, fire, etc - but most of the enemies are common to several dungeons. The enemies themselves have a variety of designs, some fairly standard and some downright bizarre. It's that variety in enemy designs that keeps combat from getting too stale. The dungeons get extraordinarily difficult, but there is a silver lining there. The game is brutally difficult if you fight every battle that you enter, but Yotes mercifully gives the option to run from any non-boss battle by simply trotting up to the edge of the screen and waiting for a couple seconds. When you run from an encounter, the enemy disappears from the dungeon as if you had won. This sacrifices experience and spoils you could have gotten from the fight, obviously, but it makes it a LOT easier to get through a dungeon.
One of the things that Yotes did really well is the visual design of the characters. He used a pixel art style, and folks who know my views on retro games know that I'm not typically a fan of pixel art, but greater than my general disdain for pixel art is my love of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and he captured the aesthetic and feel of the show's character designs extraordinarily well from the coat and mane colors to the mane styles to Clover's cloak. In addition to the visuals, the music in the game - especially the battle theme - is extremely well done and will easily get stuck in your head. I'm not sure who Yotes got to do the music for the game, but whoever it is did a fantastic job.
I struggled for a while with how to rate this game. I was very unsure about the game at first - the difficult when jumping straight into the first dungeon was a big turn off initially - but I didn't want to give my friend's game a bad score. Fortunately, as I played more of the game, I started to get a feel for the game's quirks, the ins and outs of the hit detection, tricks to grind up experience more efficiently, and to just throw away my pride and run away with my tail between my legs. It's not the most approachable game at first because it does take some getting used to, but once you do get used to it and get a feel for it, it's a lot of fun. Obviously I'm biased since Yotes is such a good friend of mine, but I think Unicorn Training is absolutely worth the $0.99 asking price, and since there's a free demo of it, there's really no excuse not to give it a shot. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.
Also, as a last minute plug, there's a demo of Yotes' next game, Battle Gem Ponies, available at his website. The demo is obviously free, and I urge everyone to go download it and check it out. Both the demo and the full game (once it releases) are available on Android, iOS, and PC.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.