The Magic Of Gameloft’s My Little Pony Game Is Spoiled By Its Greedy Monetization

Universal
2.5
 

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic

Publisher(s)  Gameloft

Platform(s) Reviewed  iPad • Genre(s)  Games • Kids • Adventure • Entertainment • Release Date  Nov 08, 2012 • Version Reviewed  1.0.0 • Price (as reviewed)  Free

Pros    Game play itself is fun    Cons    Though it is a 'free' title, it'll end up costing you quite a bit of real money to complete

 

Let’s get this out of the way now: This game is fanservice, plain and simple.
If you are a Brony or just a My Little Pony fan in general, this game was designed as a love letter to you specifically.

Well maybe it is more of a love letter asking to borrow money, but promising awesome things in the meantime.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an iOS app based on the ridiculously popular tv show called: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. (Betcha didn’t see that one coming…) In case you have been living under a rock since 1986, this show is a far cry from your parent’s My Little Pony.

The pony appearances have been modernized and made more slick for the current generation and the show has an insane amount of pop culture references and guest stars. Even John DeLancie (Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation) shows up as a very Q-like villain at one point.

The characters have quite a bit more attitude to them than they used to and the pacing is frantic. This allows both modern-day girls and even adults to enjoy the show on different levels. The often quite-rabid fan base even has taken on a life of its own now and has become a force the internet has rarely seen. Suffice to say, the show is a ton of fun for everyone.

The app tries to capture much of the essence of the show, or as much as can be captured in a Farmville clone.
That’s right folks, we are going to farmville-ville over here.

Immediately upon launching the app, you are treated to crisp visuals and show-quality sound. The dialogue is voiced by the same voice cast as the cartoon and it really ups the quality of the app from being a cash-in to something that has quite a bit of authenticity.

The loose plot of the game is to uncover the dark areas of Ponyville by bringing the town back. Once you do this
you discover the shrines to the elements of harmony. Find all the element shrines, have all the main six ponies and
you win the game.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it is if you have unlimited real life money.

Very quickly you are introduced to the gems are the premium currency of the game. As most Freemium games do, you get a few for doing various tasks and a couple for leveling up. This keeps you thinking you can afford most everything without spending real world cash.

Technically you can if you are willing to forgo the big names like Princess Celestia. She is the perfect example of what is troubling about the game. She costs 950 gems which cost around $0.07 USD each if you break down the $49.99 bundle. This means she costs about $66 in real money.

Now she is not necessary to complete the game, but other ponies are – such as Rarity (90 gems – $6.30) and Rainbow Dash (500 gems – $35). The problem is you are paying around $0.12/gem if you buy the smaller bundles to get these ponies bringing their totals to $10.80 and $60 respectively. That is a significant price difference.

Now I imagine if you don’t spend any gems throughout the game you could save up the 590 gems to purchase these two ponies, but the game even has quests that require you to spend gems to complete, which makes the endgame task even more irritating.

The big kicker that surprised me was that there is absolutely no gameplay difference between ponies. They just cost more and more as the game progresses. Sure you would expect the fan favorites such as Lyra Heartstrings and DJ Pon 3 to be more pricey, but they do nothing more than fill up your shops. They make you more coins simply by the power of having more ponies.

The game does break up the typical shopkeeping and coin gathering with mini-games to level up your ponies so they can earn you even more coins by doing better paying jobs that require higher levels.

First there is the ball bouncing game, which you simply swipe the ball back to your pony and the better you time it, the more points you score.

Then we have the Apple Collecting game, a simple game to collect falling apples.
Once a pony has enough experience for a star, you get to play the flying minigame where you collect coins and white clouds.

These are fun diversions and once you have a handful of ponies, you can always expect a pony to be ready to play at any given moment.

The game has the typical time-wasters and annoyances if you don’t keep an area used, they quickly become overrun with Parasprites and rocks. The odd thing is there is no real reason to get rid of the parasprites. They just sit there, flitting around, costing you elemental crystals to get rid of them. There is no urgency or risk to the game that drives people in other similar titles.

In Conclusion

I found this game very hard to score simply because I honestly am having a great time with it, but on the other hoof I don’t ever see myself spending enough to complete the game which really hurts the score. After spending $10 on the game it felt like it simply wasn’t worth it, the gems just don’t go far enough.

If you love the show like I do, the game is great and will be a very addicting addition to your device, just don’t expect to get away beating the game without paying real money.
Anyways, back to watching the newest season of My Little Pony I go!

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