Controversy is a great way to shift a few copies of your game, and after initially being rejected by Apple due to its rather sickening images of cartoon horses being chewed up by meat grinders, Unpleasant Horse has finally hit the App Store. 4th And Battery, PopCap's experimental new studio, have certainly done well from the increased publicity that this controversy provides... but is the game itself actually any good?
Well, Unpleasant Horse is okay. What little of it there is.
In fact, Unpleasant Horse is barely a game at all. You control the precarious flight of a badass black horse as he plummets precariously towards an enormous meat grinder by tapping on clouds, birds and fellow equestrians for him to leap on to. Clouds provide a stable base, but otherwise, you'll need to hijack (and eventually kill) your colourful critter friends to use as temporary platforms. The aim is to get as far as possible before sinking into the whirring blades - which eventually results in the adorable protagonist being reduced to a churning gruel of meat paste, horseshoes and gore.
And that's it. There are no online leaderboards, alternate modes or unlockables. Just a few minutes of fun that succeeds only at being a niche curiosity and proof of concept.
Visually, Unpleasant Horse is anything but unpleasant. The sprites are detailed and attractive and look crisp and clean on both the iPhone and the iPad; with the universal app optimised for your platform of choice. I'd personally recommend the iPhone as the best way to play it, though, because there's much less distance for your finger to travel. It'll save you valuable milliseconds, and you'll need every single one of them.
Having said all that, Unpleasant Horse is free... and more importantly: advert-free. It's probably worth a download, then, but be very aware that watching your equine friend get minced into dog food is potentially extremely upsetting. You have been warned.
It's also worth noting that the game was designed and coded in 24 hours, which is an impressive achievement that will cement 4th & Battery's reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Still, we hope that they'll take at least a long weekend next time around.
- Slick visuals
- Accessible one-tap gameplay
- It's free. With no adverts.
- Insubstantial, shallow and instantly forgettable
- Potentially extremely offensive depending on your sensibilities
Summary: Unpleasant Horse proves that 4th & Battery can make a game in a single day - and make it look good to boot. However, the title itself is little more than a demonstration.
Developer: 4th & Battery
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2.2 or later.
Price: Free - App Store