Mary King's Riding Star

Simulation 1998 Windows IR Gurus Interactive Pty Ltd. Life simulation Nature simulation

Fun but shallow horse management sim

An unusual little game, Riding Star is a managerial game that is set in the world of equestrianism and as it lacks the complexity of business management and instead concentrates on the fun part, it makes for the perfect introduction to a fascinating world. The goal here is simply to win as many events of differing kinds as possible, such as dressage, cross country and showjumping. You start out with a horse in less than perfect shape and must train it up to improve its skills so that it can become a champion. In a node to realism, you must also feed and clean out your prized beast, while also grooming it to keep it in perfect shape. The training scenes are simple enough and require you to, for example, just keep jumping over fences until you feel you have the required skill, with the championship mode testing these skills to the limit. There are some options for personalising your horse, such as giving it a name and choosing a colour but a bit more choice in this respect wouldn't have gone amiss. A bigger problem though is the events themselves. They are sorely lacking in variety and it doesn't take too long for players to become skilled enough to enter the championship and be successful, meaning that the game's long-term appeal is somewhat minimal. Younger gamers, and girls with a fascination for horses in particular, are sure to get a kick out of Riding Star but pretty much anyone else will feel let down by the game, lacking in depth or complexity as it does. If you're after a real classic horse racing game, then Quarterpole is the one to watch out for.

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