Seriously, where are all the good horse games?

I love horses. Have loved horses all my life. I always point at them when we pass them driving. At 16, I bought one instead of a car. (Short-lived, short-sighted experience. College happened at 18, and I was only able to do this as he lived in a stable. I did not have horse-keeping facilities.) The next best thing is to turn to video games (or my Breyer models) in the meantime. Until I can one day, own a horse of my own.

There is a huge hole in the video game world when it comes to finding decent horse-related video games. The most recent horse game I picked up was The Unicorn Princess. I pretty much knew what I was getting when I picked it up. The lack of any good horse games means I was going to try it anyway. (Hilariously, it was actually one of our most popular streams!)

You pretty much are a girl helping out around the farm, riding your horse to do some errands. Then a unicorn shows up and you help the unicorn with a few things. It’s incredibly repetitive, and the world is really empty. There aren’t a lot of options in the horses or the tack. The horse animations aren’t terrible, and hey – there is a unicorn! There IS a point of no return and a really obnoxious amount of ‘Leeeiiilllllaaaaaaaaaaa’ being screamed at you. But it was what you should expect just from looking at the cover. It’s also pretty reflective of the horse game genre overall, which is pretty sad.

Most horse games are like this – pretty cheesy and and aimed at little girls.

This is why it’s kind of interesting that the best horse games I’ve found, aren’t actually horse games at all! The two best I’ve seen are Red Dead Redemption II and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Both of these games feature horses, but not as the main draw of the game. They are important for navigation, and I would argue the horse is vastly more important in RDR2.

For reasons I’ve hidden back here, which include a major spoiler. Don’t click if you haven’t finished RDR2.

The bond Arthur develops with his horse throughout RDR2 just absolutely makes the game so beautiful for me. And the ending is so tragic, and the fact that he stopped to comfort the horse is just EVERYTHING, and it makes me cry just thinking about it.

And if you were not riding Buell at the end, you were doing it wrong.

Buell - Red Dead Redemption II - Image from GTABase.com

Image from GTABase.com – Which also outlines how you can get Buell if you missed him!

Red Dead Redemption II features a multitude of different horse breeds and genders, and they’re so realistic. (Maybe too realistic?) They have different qualities and stats, and you can change their hair cuts and tack. The longer you spend with them and bond, the better relationship you develop with them. The braver they get. Or maybe you’ll just get to enjoy Arthur singing to his horse! (And not get bucked off when a cougar jumps out at you!)

You can catch and tame wild ones, they will come from pretty far when you call for them, and they are actually just fun to ride around on. Some feel like tanks, and some are incredibly fast.

In Breath of the Wild, they may not be quite so realistic, and taming them can be a pain at times – but there are so many options! Even Epona is available early on… although you have to use an amiibo to unlock her.

Epona, as she appears in Breath of the Wild

Epona!

Catching horses in BOTW, however, is incredibly fun. There are several colors to choose from – even a giant black one that kind of resembles Gannon’s horses?

Both games have great options for riding them and enjoying the horses. Both games let you style the manes and tails or change the tack on them. But that is about it, as neither are designed around being horse games in their entirety. And yet, they are still some of the best horse games around?

As another shout-out, I’ve found a freemium mobile game out there, called My Horse that is actually not that bad. Except for the time-locked aspect of it, unless you want to pay-to-play.

Seriously though, when there are games out there to clean up after a massacre, why are there no good horse games?

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