You might be wondering why the hell I downloaded ERMAHGERD PONIES! on Xbox Live. My bullet-proof answer: family. I decided ERMAHGERD PONIES! could be a great way to spend time with my 8-year-old stepdaughter. To this day, she has asked me to play it three times with her. Family time is important. But I have to place aside sentimentality to let you in on something you probably could’ve guessed: this game, even at $1, is pathetic.
Visuals are the only thing this game gets halfway right. ERMAHGERD PONIES! is colorful and clean. A kid won’t care that the environments show no imagination whatsoever. The character designs are slightly better. For the record, I usually pick Happy, a plain pony with blond hair and a red hairband, and my stepdaughter prefers Dreamy, a purple pony with wild pink hair. Buster, the lone male pony, wears his baseball cap backward, so he can either seem cool or like a punk, depending on your perspective. Trixy has pig tails — kind of weird for a horse.
The music is a techno mix that I find quite generic. My stepdaughter, on the other hand, has danced to it. The most obnoxious part is the auto-tune vocal that sings the game’s title and tells you to “Go.” It’s almost like they got Lil Wayne to do this.
The set-up is simple, but the gameplay doesn’t feel fluid. You can use either the analog stick or d-pad to steer. Right trigger accelerates, and left trigger reverses. You can press “A” to beep your horn. Sometimes, my stepdaughter and I stop competing altogether to beep the horn incessantly.
You have two places you can go: Cloudy Mountain and Treasure Beach. Neither environment has much of an impact other than scenery. On Cloudy Mountain, you play a hot potato game where you try to hold a diamond in your car for as long as possible. The diamond switches cars when you run into each other. On Treasure Beach, you collect gems that appear on a checkerboard and return them to your towel to rack up points while donuts and hot dogs (don’t ask) try to slow you down.
If you get really bored, you can do donuts and leave black rings on the ground. I tried to draw something with these black rings. My stepdaughter said it looked like a mouse.
That’s it. That’s the entire game.
The likelihood of you replaying ERMAHGERD PONIES! increases significantly if you have children. The more kids you have, the more likely you will play it, especially if you have three or four controllers — the game allows up to four players.
If you don’t have children, you should be ashamed if you download this game. Otherwise, have as much fun as you can. The things you’ll play for your family.