Barbie Horse Adventures: Wild Horse Rescue
Okay, I know what many of you are sitting there reading this wondering. Why would an adult male play a game like this? Well, I did it for you! I played this for the readers of XGP Gaming reviews that’s why! Seriously, I’d love to pick and choose what to review but in the end, EVERYTHING must be reviewed evenBarbie Horse Adventures: Wild Horse Rescue. So with that said let’s get on with it. You all know Barbie, the trendsetting doll that has been a fixture with-in many homes across many countries and cultures alike. Not all of you know her horse though. (just kidding). Well, Blitz games decided to tap into every girl age six to twelve and give her a good taste of Barbie on Xbox. I know you’re thinking, well what pre-teen girl plays games? Well according to Blitz, enough of them to make a game clearly dedicated to teen girls.
The game is pretty straightforward in its presentation and story. Barbie is on a mission to rescue a bunch of wild horses who scattered to the hills after a massive storm. At her disposal are of course her trusty horse, lasso, cell phone and a few other cheap tools. The control is a bit off which was really unexpected seeing how this game couldn’t require much thought to play. Barbie’s movement seems to be a bit slow or behind when you try and hurry her up. Riding on horseback for the most part is not a moving experience because the movement isn’t fluid or exact. But really what would you expect from a toy horse. This does present a problem, however, because you have to go through the game collecting coins, which are used for more of the Barbie outfits we’ve grown to love. I tried in many variations to make a Bikini-Cowboy-Biker Barbie but failed miserably. If you grew up loving to mix outfits then this game will be good for you because it allows you quite a bit of interaction with her clothing.
The overall scheme of the game is quite simple and easy for the pre-teen to pick up and play. Once the nostalgia of seeing Barbie on your TV screen and being able to manipulate her every move is worn off, the game becomes boring and extremely repetitive. Grab the coins, find the horse, grab more coins, change outfits, change horse’s outfit is all too common. But again, if you don’t expect much then you’ll be truly pleased. Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to be a doll interaction but rather a video game with the Barbie character.
When we get to how this game does visually and how it sounds, we open another can of worms. Even if it were a game about a doll, you’d expect an extreme amount of graphical prowess that has been custom for Xbox. Alas, this game takes a step back and somehow forgets what character animation or facial representation is all about. If nothing else, Barbie could LOOK like Barbie but she doesn’t. She resembles the true Barbie only in blond hair and outfits. The character movements are too static and don’t look to be free moving at all. There must be some angular limit enforced on Barbie and her horses. When you set out to find these lost horses and see what the world has to offer, you’re quickly out of the environment looking at the lack of textures and the buggy framerate. I expected at least a hundred horses on screen before the framerate began to stutter but somehow during solo missions with just Barbie and the horse it kicked in and out. Even the load times are significant. The environment isn’t that huge nor the horses that detailed to require a load time that exceeds 1 second but you’ll sit there staring and waiting. The majority of your time though will be spent not trying to complete the missions or game but instead on finding enough coins to warrant an outfit change. For the truly fanatic fans, this should be well worth an hour or two of fun. You even get to wash your horse to build its strength and happiness.
There is 5.1 Dolby Digital support in this game as there is every Xbox game so you can expect at least some joy with the sound. Whoever they got to do the voice for Barbie sounds innocent enough and the ambience in the environment was decent. The game managed to keep up with the innocence that is Barbie so don’t expect a bunch of hard rock tunes in this game. What I did love though were the sounds of the horses. I mean they DID sound like horses and with so much wrong going on it was nice to find a positive like this.
Barbie Horse Adventures doesn’t support content download or Xbox Live play. Playing this game across Xbox Live would perhaps end a lot of little girls’ dreams of an innocent Barbie anyway.