Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Little Pony Android Game Review

This is my short (ish) and silly review of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Android version game.  I'd heard about the game from a few websites like Equestria Daily, and when the Android version popped up I downloaded it to my Galaxy Tab 7.0.  I've pretty much been playing it since and have gotten up to level 32 at the time I'm writing this.

The first thing that struck me was the fact that they had gathered some of the original voice actors for some of the ponies, I'm assuming all of the mane six, although I haven't gotten Rarity, Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash yet, they even had Spike, Mrs. Cake, Celestia and Nightmare Moon, so I was impressed by that.  Of course, after the initial voices, the rest of the cast pretty much fall off.  However, all of the favorite ponies are there, Lyra, DJ Pon-3, "Time Turner", and Octavia.  Of course, that's only if you can afford them or happen to run into a glitch here or there when you can get them reasonably.

Playing the game is relatively simple, if you follow the missions you pretty much learn how to do everything that you need to play the game.  The rest is pretty much repetition, and as anyone who's played Farmville or Cityville or Cafeworld or any one of those games, it's all about setting things up and gaining money to buy more stuff and expand Ponyville.

What's different about this game from the others I mentioned is that there's a story line and goal to expanding your Ponyville, and also the fact that each pony levels up by playing Mini-games.

The downside to playing a game so early in development is the same as with others I've played in the past, there are glitches.  Sometimes the game will freeze up after a mini-game, sometimes crashing the program.  Other times the game won't refresh and I'll be grumbling that I'd unlocked Fluttershy but it's not actually unlocked until I turn it off and reset it.  Another glitch, which is a big one, is that the social side of things just doesn't work at all.  I've heard of a lot of others who have had this problem, so I know it's pretty extensive.

Then there are fun glitches.  My favorite glitch right now is that even though I don't have ponies in all of my shops, they're still producing stuff and I'm getting coins from them.  Two days ago they had an accidental "sale" for "two days" which turned out to be an hour or so, where a few of us were able to get ponies like Scootaloo for real cheap, so that turned out to be pretty nice.

I'm also enjoying the fact that you have to find Derpy hiding around Ponyville.  She's usually two eyeballs in a box.  When you click her she'll appear for a little while and do a little fluttering around and dancing.  She also has a very unusual expression where she looks all mad for a second...  Not sure what that's about.  Maybe because you aren't paying her enough attention?  ^_^  What's interesting is they always talk about "that pony".  So even in a game where they've got Time Turner (Dr. Whooves) and DJ Pon-3, they still can't acknowledge my favorite pony.

I also have another gripe, or maybe it's done on purpose, but here's a tip if you play the game.  The Flour Mill, Cherry stand and Lemon stand are your money earners.  The rest are HUGE ripoffs in your town.  For now, avoid putting ponies to work in anything else (except maybe the Bookstore and Apple stand as last resorts).  Pile your ponies into the Flour Mill first, especially at the beginning as you're playing because if you're sitting there for a half hour on the game you'll net about $1,500 or so of coins just by clicking on it once a minute.  The Flour Mill with three ponies will get you about 52 coins a minute.  The cherry stand and lemon stand are around 52 coins, then it drops off drastically to 9 or even 5 coins a minute.  The only time you should have ponies in those other businesses is when you'll be away for awhile and then you can collect one big lump sum after logging on a few hours later.  But if you're going to sit there playing, it'll do you a lot of good to avoid those businesses.

I'm kind of hoping they'll fix this flaw eventually (of course at the moment the buildings I have no ponies in are still producing, so I'm not overly worried about it.)  I'm also hoping they'll fix the social aspect so I can actually get some friends besides Celestia.

And...if you want to friend me I'm under "MillyT" on Gameloft....but don't cross your fingers for chests because I can't get to anyone yet.  >_<;

It's still fun, and I'm kind of looking at this game like I'm in Beta Test mode rather than in a finalized version of the game.  I guess if you look at it that way, even a buggy game like this one can be fun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Autumn Ends

As Autumn comes to an end, I think of all the fun that I had this year.  Especially when it comes to going up to Michigan to visit St. John's and the pumpkin patch by the cider mill there.

I may have written about this before, but if you've never been to Michigan, or at least the Northeast corner of the country, then you've probably been missing out on apple orchards, cider mills, donuts and pumpkin picking, usually all under the same roof, or at least on the same farm.  Growing up where I did, I was exposed early to going out and getting cider and fresh cider, pumpkin, buttermilk and cinnamon sugar donuts.  And then after scarfing down all of that awesome stuff, going out into the chilly, sometimes muddy fields, and searching for that all elusive pumpkin that I had to take home and carve on Halloween.  (Mind you, at least the day before or on Halloween, because if you do it too early it rots and then it's just not pretty by the time the Trick-or-Treaters come up).

This year I went with a friend of mine to the orchards, and with my Mom, of course, since she lives up there.  But my friend Jon and I took the wagon out to the pumpkin patch and took a sharp right over into the far field where none of the others were treading.  This is the best way to go when you're searching for pumpkins.  Nearly all the patches I've ever been to, they'll have the one that's nearly all picked over by the staff and all of the people who have come to the farm, but there'll be one where no one wants to go because to bring the pumpkins back from there will be quite a hall.  However, what's awesome about John's is that they have wagons if you're lucky enough to get them.  So we headed out into, surprisingly, a very weedy field where you really didn't see the pumpkins right away.

However - if you pulled back the tall, dead grass, deep down in it all there were pumpkins.  And not just pumpkins, but squash and gourds too.  It was still a hunt, mind you, because many of these pumpkins weren't set upright like in the more popular field, and some had a bit of frost bite, or maybe a bug bite or two (and one looked like someone's was sort of gross but pretty fascinating).

These hidden gems are what makes coming to a pumpkin patch worth it.  You dig around until you find something golden orange buried, and then you pull it out, brush it off, and try to see if it'll sit up right or if it's been eaten by worms or something stepped on it.

I tend to spend a long time looking at pumpkins, it's just the way I am.  I think I always annoyed my parents with how picky I was, even as a kid, because I always had to look closely at the pumpkin, turn it around and find just that perfect specimen.

However, this year, I decided that the digging was the adventure.  In those tall grasses I found three pumpkins that I just adored, even though they weren't perfect.  They had smooshed sides and long stems and cuts or warts here and there.  And yet, I took them home with me.  They carved into some really nice Jack'o'lanterns too.

But I'm not here to talk about the carving, I'm just talking about a feeling that I get every time I go and drink a half gallon of cider, eat a half dozen donuts and then wear it all off trudging through a farm looking for that golden orange treasure.

And if you've never done it yourself, then next year, when things get a bit cooler and you start thinking about Autumn and Halloween, do yourself a favor and head up North to experience it for yourself.