My Horse Prince Review

Otome is a bit of an oddball genre, encompassing romance games that feature the concept of a reverse harem. Generally in Otome, a female protagonist is charmed by multiple men, who fulfill the roles of romantic archetypes. While the heavy-handed tropes of the genre might be daunting to first-time-players, parody titles such as Hatoful Boyfriend have proven that Otome’s melodrama can be accessible to newcomers if a little humor is introduced. Now, five years after Hatoful Boyfriend first landed on PC, My Horse Prince by Usaya has arrived on iOS, fusing the romance of Otome with basic clicker mechanics to create a whole new world of romantic confusion.

However, in My Horse Prince, there is only one lover up for grabs. Are you ready to fall in love?

My Horse Prince Screenshot 4

My Horse Prince Screenshot 2

My Horse Prince Screenshot 3

My Horse Prince Screenshot 1

Yuuma the horse is one of the most hilarious and bewildering characters I’ve ever encountered in a video game, romancing the player with sweet talk and increasingly erratic acts of love, all while strutting about in his equine form. The female protagonist of My Horse Prince forges a bond of love with Yuuma throughout the course of the game, but almost as if to mimic the player’s experience, she spends her time in a confounded dream-state, confused and frustrated by her inability to separate delusion from reality. All the while, it’s unclear as to whether or not their love is meant to be, or if it’s simply a horrifying mistake.

The game’s art style is typical for an Otome game, with the main characters drawn in manga-style, and tertiary characters scrawled as hasty doodles. The animation is chuckle-worthy and smooth, and cutscenes are particularly well-drawn. Unfortunately, My Horse Prince’s gameplay is painfully simple, amounting to an exercise in repetition and patience. After speaking kind words to Yuuma to build up his stamina, the player then clicks on items to build up the love meter at the top of the screen. To recharge the dialogue option, an ad must be watched, after which the process can be repeated. Once the love meter is full, a cutscene plays, and the next chapter begins. However, the heart of My Horse Prince isn’t found in its gameplay, but instead in the bizarre story, detailed cutscenes and hilariously self-aware writing. Every moment of grinding was worth it, just to find out what sort of hijinks Yuuma might get up to next, and what sort of insane plot points might ensue.

Cringe-inducing, hilarious, and utterly unique, My Horse Prince is a must-play, especially as it’s free to download. Though its core gameplay is weak, the screwball storyline and zany animations tie the whole experience together into the most delightfully confusing game I’ve played all year.

4 Stars

 

Turret Fusion Review

The clicker genre has seen a surge of popularity since 2013, with the rise of Cookie Clicker, Bitcoin Billionaire, and a legion of similar carpal-tunnel-inducing time-sinks. Obsessive screen-tapping and oceans of upgrades are hallmarks of the genre, in which gameplay takes a backseat to the instant satisfaction of leveling up. In the case of Turret Fusion, developer Shark Jump Studios has foregone the clicking aspect of the genre, crafting an intensely addictive clicker with the concept of fusion at its core, blending clicker game progression with tower defense tropes.

Turret Fusion Screenshot

Turret Fusion Screenshot

Turret Fusion Screenshot

The game begins in an alien-ravaged desert landscape, with twelve empty turret squares sitting aside an unstoppable torrent of alien invaders. Turrets rain down from the sky into your arsenal, equipping you to pelt away at the alien horde, all the while harvesting the dead aliens’ biomass, which is used as the game’s primary currency. Gameplay is simple, achieved by dragging low-power turrets toward each other, fusing their technology to create turrets of greater power. Combined with the purchase of turrets using biomass, in a matter of minutes you’ll have a powerful arsenal of extraterrestrial-repulsion at your fingertips. As the tiers of progression continue, your war expands to higher levels of warfare, as giant mech-turrets face off against flying stingrays, and spaceships battle against massive alien creatures.

As in Shark Jump’s excellent puzzler Test Chamber, Turret Fusion is filled with charming, well-designed low-poly 3D models. The plot is tied together with dialogue between hand-drawn characters, who unfortunately don’t blend with the rest of the game’s sense of aesthetic. The background music is similarly unmemorable.

However, while the presentation falters a little, the developers’ attention to detail saves the day. Each and every turret is cleverly named, with two Gatlers combining to create a Gatatatler, which in turn creates a Cheese Grater. The dialogue is similarly tongue-in-cheek, with Officer Walter exclaiming his amazement as to the seemingly infinite power of each new turret. The game’s sense of humor makes it all the more satisfying to play, and each upgrade truly feels more powerful than the last.

Turret Fusion Screenshot

My only real qualm with the game arises from its use of coin currency. While biomass is simple to harvest and satisfying to spend, certain upgrades require spending coins, which are incredibly slow to harvest. It’s possible to increase your coin income to 3 coins per day, but this upgrade itself costs 4 coins, which could be spent on increasing your drop-pod speed or biomass collection duration. These coin walls can occasionally be skipped by viewing a video, but while playing the game without WiFi, a chronic lack of coins can be very frustrating.

Turret Fusion is pleasant to look at, funny, and incredibly addicting. Aside from its occasionally frustrating monetization structure, Shark Jump’s newest game is an enjoyable, straightforward addition to the clicker genre, and certainly worth the free download.

3.5 Stars