After a bit of an approval snafu earlier this month, the first title from PopCap Games’ new edgier games division 4th & Battery has finally hit the App Store. Called Unpleasant Horse [Free], it’s an endless high scoring game that stars - wait for it - an unpleasant horse. And let me tell you, this horse is a real jerk.
Gameplay is simple. Your horse leaps through the air traveling to the right, and can rest upon clouds spread throughout the sky. Pressing anywhere on the screen will cause unpleasant horse to jump to that spot, and the object is to leap from cloud to cloud for as long as possible. There are also cute birdies flying in the air, and jumping into these will give you an additional air jump to use when you need an extra boost in the middle of a jump to make it to your destination.
There are kind and gentle ponies flying through the sky as well, and this is where the unpleasantness comes in. Unpleasant horse can jump onto the backs of these majestic creatures, which are merely minding their own business I might add, and weigh them down sinking towards the ground. The “ground” in this case is a series of spinning saw blades, and you’ll earn extra points by pushing the nice horses down and grinding them into the blades in a shower of gore reminiscent of so many Mortal Kombat games.
So yeah, it’s pretty unpleasant, but it’s also pretty fun. The game mechanics are solid, though it does take a bit of practice to get used to, but once you get a nice run going it’s a very satisfying experience. Guilt-ridden satisfaction, due to all the ponies and birds you end up killing, but satisfaction nonetheless. The game’s description explains that Unpleasant Horse was the result of a game jam where they literally drew words out of a hat and developed a game based around whatever phrase came from it. For this, I’d say Unpleasant Horse actually came out pretty well.
Best of all is you can currently download Unpleasant Horse for free and try it yourself, rather than listening to me blather on about it. When PopCap announced the new 4th & Battery label, they explained that their aim was to try out new experimental titles without having to worry about annoying things like development schedules or profitability. This relaxed take on making games means free games for you, Mr. or Mrs. Consumer, so if Unpleasant Horse sounds interesting to you at all and you can stomach the unpleasantness, then definitely give it a download.
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