I’ll be honest: When first faced with the prospect of Star Stable, I was flummoxed. The same effect would perhaps be achieved if I were given Winnie the Pooh to watch after a particularly harrowing season of The Wire. But Star Stable represents one of the more intriguing aspects of gaming – and overall entertainment – of today: Just because it looks to be meant for kids and is meant for kids doesn’t mean everyone else can’t have fun.
Star Stable is essentially a massively multiplayer horse-riding simulator. You travel to the typical barn for the summer to train your horseback-riding skills only to learn that it will be demolished soon by the heathens of the corporate world. It’s an easy story to relate to (unless you’re an Objectivist) and provides enough incentive for the missions you’ll undertake. The story isn’t mean to overshadow the entire horse riding experience, which is even better.
The missions here aren’t like what you’d find in typical games. In keeping with a lot of social network games, they’re actually more like small tasks or challenges to complete for progression. As such, this makes them incredibly linear and easy to complete. I appreciate that the developer Pixel Tales wants to keep the emphasis on the riding aspect of the horse game. Really, as someone who approaches both open-ended objectives, sandbox games and set piece-heavy titles with equal aplomb, it’s only to be expected that a game like Star Stable would dial things back a bit.
This dialling back also extends to the overall riding aspect. Once you create your own character and choose a name from the pre-created choices, you’ll be able to ride a horse into the wild blue yonder. The horses themselves encompass every single shade you can imagine and come off as real as you would imagine with their strong yet graceful profiles. Many of us may no doubt raise our eyebrows at the aspect of being able to select only female characters, but hey, if Mass Effect hasn’t taught you about gender equality then nothing will. And honestly, even hardcore gamers remember that awesome feeling of having Epona for the first time in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time without worrying about the hang-ups of having to play as a girl.
And that’s where Star Stable ultimately succeeds. It introduces an altogether laid-back aspect of gameplay with its cartoony art style and control scheme. You steer using the A and D keys, while speeding up or down using the mouse wheel but riding around feels natural and easy. The overall game is built around enjoying the experience. Sure, there aren’t any deeper meanings to be assuaged but sometimes it’s just about giving people that same feeling they can’t get in real life. Being able to just roar through the fields with friends, keeping pace as you explore the mysteries of the world, and ultimately finding that love and respect for your trusty steed. It may sound incredibly simplistic but still enjoyable, nonetheless.
Star Stable is being constantly updated with new challenges and missions but you can also take part in a fair bit of exploring and racing. And when I say “fair bit”, I mean quite a lot. Usually, after unlocking an area, these new activities become available but when you strike out on your own and take the world in by itself, you’ll find the time just melting away. Kudos to Pixel Tales for being to craft such a rich world yet one that is easily accessible.
Star Stable’s graphics are good not only because they actually look good while lending a distinct identity but can run on even the least powerful of machines without any trouble. The game isn’t without its bugs which consist of invisible walls and some collision detection issues but it’s fairly smooth and trouble-free throughout.
Despite being available for free, you can also pay a small amount to gain Star Rider membership which essentially gives you all the content from the start along with some weekly Star Coins, which can be used to buy accessories, decorations, horse feed and much more.
This can’t be stated enough but even if Star Stable isn’t your kind of game, you should check it out. It’s one of those experiences that any one, from any age can enjoy and comes highly recommended for parents wanting to play with their children. You can play Star Stable horse game here and hit up the official Youtube channel to see more media for the game.