• My Little Pony Harmony Quest--Equestria Daily Review

    Two days ago, My Little Pony Harmony Quest was released for iOS devices. In that time I've managed to sit down and beat the game give this game a fair shake. Apparently as the only member of EQD with an Apple Device--Seth forgot I have an iPhone--I've taken it upon myself to really give this game it's due.

    After the break you'll be able to find my in depth review of this game from Budge Studios TM, where I'll go into some of the basic game mechanics, the differences between the ponies, and whether or not this game is worth checking out.

    Check it out below the break!


    Compared to the only other moble phone MLP game on the market (My Little Pony: Puzzle Party hasn't hit world wide release yet) this game actually looks like the show. That's probably because the whole game is animated in flash. There are a number of times where I wondered if the game was actually using show assets for the ponies and bosses throughout the game. There are a few instances where that was proven not to be the case, but overall the art in this game is instantly recognizable.

    You cannot mistake this game for anything but a My Little Pony game.


    Bet you weren't expecting that when the game was announced!

    Queen Chrysalis and her Changeling Army invade Equestria! Her army ransacks Twilight's castle, steals and then shatters the Elements of Harmony, kidnaps the citizens of Equestria and places them into changeling cocoons, and for some reason puts Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity to sleep.

    But never fear, for Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack stand up against the changeling menace and race to save Equestria!

    I will be blunt. As awesome as all of that sounds, in terms of story, there really isn't much of one. What you're given in the opening cut scene--which is also the only cut scene in the game--is everything you are given in terms of plot. No dialogue from the characters in the game. No further cut scenes. It's a mishmash of plot elements that have already been shown on the show that have been tossed into a blender and puréed into a plot that is both immediately different from anything else in the series and undeniably familiar.

    It's literally window dressing for the gameplay to take place in. Considering that I started playing video games with the NES during the silver age of video games, this is a story telling technique that I am all too familiar with.

    And to this day there is nothing wrong with that technique. The main focus of a video game is whether or not the game is playable. Not whether or not the story the is the video game equilvant of The Lord of the Rings. Sometimes it is okay to have something that is light on story, but heavy on fun and engaging gameplay. Especially on the games for your cellphone where what you're doing with those games is taking a short couple minute break from mind-numbing monotonous work to goof off for a few minutes.

    There is a mini-game mechanic that might make putting ponies into cocoons rather disturbing depending on how you interpret it.

    The story is given via narration during the opening cut-scene by a voice actress who is not any of the stars of the show, and travels with you during the entirety of the game. Overall the narrator adds a bit of levity during the story, and if you either have someone in your family who is in MLP's target age group or you are in MLP's targeted age group it's fairly enjoyable.


    Yes, that changeling helmet is taken from Friendship is Magic Issue 3. Thank you Andy Price for the cool design.

    The game is a flash animated side scroller. Like the classic side scrollers of the bygone age of gaming, this means that for the entirety of the game you are running to the right side of the screen. The main objective of each level is to catch the lone changeling that is running away from our playable characters. In each level are various random obstacles to slow down your progress. For each obstacle you usually get to choose which character you will use to get through it.

    The screenshot above showcases the general look of the game that you'll be seeing for the vast majority of it. The changeling is running away form the characters, and you have to press the run button to have your characters run after him. This is not a press once and hold mechanic--which is fairly standard in modern gaming. Oh no, this mechanic is old school button mashing. The faster you hit that run button, the faster you'll be able to get your ponies to run. Be sure to either take a break after each run or be prepared to ice down your hand once in a while. Your will start to feel it after an hour or two.

    This is called an ancient magical stained glass window in game. Keep in mind that this window is in Twilight's brand new crystal castle.

    There are two types of magical McGuffins that your chasing after in each level. The first is a part of a magical stained glass window that was in Twilight's castle. Apparently the window is indeed magical since I'm pretty sure taking parts of a window that has already been installed into the wall of a building would normally cause it to shatter, rather than just make easily fixed holes in it.

    As you collect each part of the window, you'll be able to fill it in to create a whole picture featuring each of the mane six. Of course each successfully collection of an item results in a six trumpet salute commemorating your success.

    I imagine that Fluttershy would hide every time her trumpet is blasted.

    The second McGuffin you're chasing after are pieces of the Elements of Harmony. Surprisingly these aren't in the Tree of Harmony as shown during the season 4 premiere, but are built into the castle map table in this game.

    I kid you not. Just take a look.

    Mission Select Screen. Yes, that lock is the pay wall. I will get to that in a minute.

    The castle map of Equestria is where you as the player select which item you'll be going after. There are usually three different items to choose from that correspond to one of the Mane Six ponies. After choosing a mission, you will be told what the required number of ponies for it and get to choose who goes on it, To start out out you are given the choices of Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Princess Twilight Sparkle.

    Each pony has two different abilities which are used for solving the puzzles in each level. Usually you can choose which pony to use to solve each puzzle. For instance, when going up against a changeling who wants to block your way you can have Twilight magically throw rocks at him, have Pinkie Pie dance the changeling into a confused stupor, or have Applejack buck apples at his poor head a la Angry Birds.

    The game always gives you an option of two ponies regardless of the size of the party you have. So there is an element of randomness when it comes to who you can choose to take care of the problems. However there are also challenges that can only be solved by one pony. The build the correct key challenge is always solved by Twilight Sparkle and only shows up when she is in your party.

    Who knew that Star Swirl the Bearded liked grapes?

    A small subset of mini games requires the player to collect various items strewn about the level for a random pony who lost them. Those ponies could be--just from my single play through--Granny Smith, Princess Luna, Sweetie Belle, Spitfire (who for some reason is called a him in this game), and the MLP version of a time lord who likes to wear bells on his hat and cloak.

    You have no chance of missing these items during your run. They are treated as obstacles that need to be overcome for you to progress through the level.

    There is one rather interesting challenge of note that has the potential for some rather far reaching consequences for the Changeling race. It goes back to the changelings putting the citizens of Equestria into changeling cocoons. Throughout the course of the game, you'll run into an obstacle that requires you to break the cocoon to rescue whatever is inside of it. After breaking the cocoon you'll get one of two results. Either a pony will pop out, with you the player having rescued them, or a changeling pops out, which gives you a second immediate challenge to face off against.

    It adds a little bit of variety to the game, since you never know what you are going to get with that challenge, but there are two different interpretations for what it could mean. Either your rescuing ponies from the cocoons and Chrysalis caught wind of it and thus decided to put her own soldiers in there in a gambit to slow you down, or your racing against the clock to save the ponies from being turned into changelings while in the pods.

    There is literally not enough information in the game itself to determine which option it is, so it's really up to the player to decide what's going with those pods.

    Believe it or not, this is Pinkie Pie's boss.

    Speaking of challenges, there are six bosses in total throughout the game. The bosses are Rover, Fido, Spot, Hydra, Cerberus, and Queen Chrysalis. You'll be able to face every boss in any order--with the exception of Queen Chrysalis who is always the final boss--depending on how fast you complete the magical window for each character. The bosses are character specific, since they correspond to a specific element of Harmony. The boss fights are designed to be beaten by one pony and one pony only.

    Once again the exception is her royal bugness, Queen Incompetence Chrysalis. For this boss you have to make use of all six ponies to over come a final set of challenges before Twilight really makes Chrysalis look like foolish.

    I'm serious. It's actually the funniest moment in the game. I won't spoil it if you decide to give this game a play through. But trust me, you will laugh at this one.

    Pay Wall

    You didn't honestly expect to play a freemium for free now did you?

    You'll be able to play about 1/8 (which is about an hour in) of the game for free before hitting the pay wall. It is a hard stop paywall not a you now have timers that take days to wait through pay wall. You do not pass go. You do not go off to work on other ponies. You will not be able to progress further into the game without purchasing the remaining three ponies.

    You can either buy each of the three remaining ponies for $5 each (for a grand total of $15) or you can buy all three at once for a one time fee of $10. If you want to play the game to completion, just pay the $10 fee. The only way to reset your progress if you want to start over at this point is to uninstall the game and reinstall it. Once you get to the end, you'll be able to restart the game to your hearts content and see how if you can make it through the game faster than the previous run.


    I wonder if Twilight commissioned this window for her friends.

    The game is easy to play. Extremely easy to play. Considering that the target age for the MLP Franchise are children 4-12 years old, this is not surprising. For anyone who has a decent level of hand eye coordination, this game is going to be a breeze to get through. And that is totally okay. The game is not designed for you.

    The game is designed for very young children. Namely those who are much closer to the 4 year old spectrum of the targeted age group. However the game does not talk down to the player, it treats the player as they though they are working towards a big end goal while traveling on this epic quest. While the gameplay is repetitive it is varied enough that you're not always doing the same activity the entire time.

    When the very low pay wall to unlock all content in the game is taken into consideration, and the ability to replay the entire game once you've completed it, you've got a game that's ideal and fun game for the littlest fans of MLP.

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