Taking inspiration from the My Little Pony series of toys, Pony Island…. only kidding. Don’t let the title mislead you, Pony Island could not be further from the bright and sparkly world of My Little Pony, it does, however, feature a pony.
You begin the game seemingly about to play the Pony Island game for the first time, but then something happens, taking you to a much darker version of the game in which you are ultimately trapped, along with another lost soul. Together you both take on the task of breaking out of the game into freedom without having to sacrifice your soul. I told you it was nothing like My Little Pony.
Pony Island features a sinister narrative with elements of dark humour consistent throughout, mainly through the text-based dialogue you encounter with other characters. You won’t be rolling around in hysterics, but it will raise a chuckle every now and then. The main gameplay mechanic used to progress the narrative is mainly puzzle based, interspersed with platforming sections. The puzzles are hacking mini-games based in and around computer programming. “Wait! I don’t know anything about computer programming!” I hear you cry, do not worry, you don’t need to know anything at all. I certainly don’t and found the puzzles to be fine. They are challenging, especially towards the end of the game, but the difficultly-curve is nicely balanced so that you learn as you progress. Some players unfamiliar with puzzles may find these sections frustrating.
The platforming sections follow a similar difficulty curve to the puzzles. You take control of a pony that has to jump over hurdles. As you progress, you unlock the ability to fire lasers at enemies and to fly for small distances. Later on, all of these skills are combined into difficult levels requiring quick reflexes. It can be frustrating sometimes, but they are actually quite fun despite the simple premise of the levels.
So Pony Island is unlike any other game you have played or will likely to play in the future. Would I recommend the game though? From me, it is a resounding YES! Whether you enjoy puzzle or platform games or not, Pony Island deserves to be played. It is both a game and a unique experience that constantly springs surprises on you and will stay with you beyond the couple of hours it takes to complete. Plus, it only costs a meagre £3.99, which is an absolute steal for such a memorable game.
Uses different game genres to good effect
Unlike any other videogame or interactive experience
Could be frustratingly difficult for some players