Ponies and princesses...seems
like Disney has a winning combination here, at least in
terms of concept. Although innovative in some ways and
kid-friendly in others, this CD-ROM falls a little short in
terms of content--there just isn't enough of it.
Children are greeted by
Cinderella, who welcomes them to the gazebo. Here, players
can choose any of four different banners. One banner leads
them to a short and sweet design area where they select some
decorations that will appear in and around the royal stable.
There's not a whole lot of customization here, but what is
available is very pretty eye candy. All in all, however, it
is a limited activity.
Another banner leads
children to a horse-decorating activity. Kids select a horse
(perhaps the chestnut brown one or the white horse named
Starwish) and then add finishing touches to seven different
parts of the horse, such as its mane and hooves. When kids
exit the stable, the horse they just decorated appears naked
of the embellishments. However, when they win a ribbon in
the show ring, their horse will appear completely
Which brings us to the meat
and potatoes of the program: the show ring. Children get to
ride their chosen horse along a course, hopping fence rails
and other obstacles. Kids can opt to use either the mouse or
keyboard controls. Starting up is easy--the program is
generous and lenient when it comes to timing. In fact, the
horses are very "smart", players are told, so that
if they miss a jump, the horses simply run around the
obstacle. A little bluebird accompanies children in the
first levels, and he chirps when it's time to jump. The
viewpoint is smart--kids see the head of the horse as if
they were on top of the horse. Slowly
but surely, as kids advance, the courses become a little
more challenging. When children successfully complete any of
the three levels, they earn horse information cards and open
up bonus games.
The fourth area simply is a
storage area for horse information cards, scrapbook
pictures, and certificates won. Many of these items are
printable, and kids can also print out a growth chart (12
pages!). Our experience with such printables is parents
bemoan them, that is if kids actually take an
interest in them.
An added bonus is a rather
cute but somewhat useless Desktop Pony. Hate to say it, but
it's a one-trick pony. As cute as the pony is, as it gallops
across the screen, few children in the suggested age group
work on the computer outside software games often enough to
have fun with their desktop sidekick.
All in all, the game is fun
while it lasts, but just how long it lasts is questionable.