IGN Review of Barbie Horse Adventure: Riding Camp
I'll be honest. I've had to review several stinkers during my tenure here and when the IGN big wigs told me that I would be reviewing Barbie Horse Adventures: Riding Camp, I admittedly sighed. However, my mom always told me to not judge a book by its cover. I'm not sure what that has to do with me reviewing the game, but all I know is that upon booting up Riding Camp, I was pleasantly surprised by how decent this game was. It's not a great game by any means, but it's definitely not a terrible purchase for young, little girls.
Barbie Horse Adventures: Riding Camp takes place, well, in a riding camp. Your riding camp is situated on an island that was recently hit by a harsh storm, but you wouldn't guess it from roaming around the good-sized landscape. The island is surrounded by pretty, blue water and filled with lush, green shrubbery. Any hoot, because of the storm, various things on the island need a fixing. Throughout your journey as the famed blonde bombshell, you'll encounter several non-playable characters that have various missions for you. All of these missions are highlighted on your handy dandy map, which is located on your cell phone. These missions are primarily fetch quests. Little boys will ask you to find their lost toys, or women may need you to help them fix the local race track. As you play the game, you will realize that your cell phone is rather helpful, in addition to the helpful map that it provides, it allows you to make calls to be transported back to the center of town. In addition, your mission objectives, notes, and options are all creatively implemented into the mobile device.
One thing that might annoy players are the controls. Riding Camp doesn't take advantage of the nunchuck. So instead of using a control stick to move your horse, you have to tilt and flick the Wii remote to move. I personally felt that the Wii controls were slightly harder to control than the PlayStation 2 version because turning was slower and felt a little less precise.
When you're not on your horse, you can buy and put on clothes for Barbie. What that has to do with the equestrian sport beats me. I suppose a girl has to look pretty. In short, this is a real relaxing experience for gamers. The races require you to beat them under a time limit, but even then, you'll have more than enough time to spare. Riding Camp typically gives you 10 minutes to finish races, but most of them can be finished in a quarter of that time. Because this game is so easy, kids are going to be able to beat it real fast. Couple this with the fact that the game is short (it will probably take kids four to six hours to beat) and you're getting a little less bang for your buck than you should.
Arguably the biggest problem with Riding Camp is that it's a little repetitive. You typically collect nearby objects strewn about the forest and occasionally tackle a timed race and repeat. In addition, while journeying across the island, your horse will often run into trees or rocks and the like. Once that happens, your horse gets startled and it can take a handful of seconds to reorient yourself. If you could rotate your camera, perhaps this issue wouldn't be as annoying.
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