Originally released in March of last year in physical form, Let’s Ride: Best in Breed 3D didn’t wow many and was generally viewed as a horse-based inferior copycat to Nintendogs. Now released on the eShop thanks to Treva after its original publisher THQ went under, the game is available to folks who may have missed out on it before. Having never played the franchise until now, I didn’t have any preconceived notions about it, but came out of it with a similar opinion. While it looks on par with Nintendogs, it’s not as fun as that franchise. The bite-sized activities there allow you to do a lot of things quickly while still building up a rapport with your virtual pet.
The same holds true here, only you’re in a stable and doing mundane upkeep like feeding your horse that can take ages. Speaking into the mic sometimes works to speed up the process, but that doesn’t make things more fun. Like Nintendogs, you use the touchscreen to feed, hydrate, and bathe your animal. Timing-based minigames can get annoying, as you’ll need to let your horse consume a lot quickly by dragging the stylus around the screen quickly, making sure to move the bottle around to get the best, most efficient angle. You’ll likely have to repeat these activities time and time again due to strict requirements and they’re not incredibly fun to do the first time around.
Luckily, if you find the upkeep to be boring, you can engage in activities like throwing balls around instead of a novelty flying disc ala Nintendogs. Swiping up on the touch screen allows you to get the horse to leap around on-field, and it’s essentially just Nintenhorses if that was ever made. Treating your horse well and making sure it’s fed and hydrates helps ensure victory in competitions, which unlocks more stuff to play with, food to eat with, etc. The stylus controls work reasonably well, but the timing-intensive mini-games feel like busy work due to their strict requirements. You’ll also want to mute the game quickly to avoid having to hear its generic, super-happy soundtrack.
At $20, there’s no good reason to pick this up digitally when the physical version’s only going to run you $13 on Amazon. Either way, you’re getting what can best be described as a mostly solid and sometimes annoying clone of Nintendogs, but with horses. It’s not a must-buy, but something I can envision kids who have a passion for equestrian life getting a kick out of.
If Homer Simpson had this to give to Lisa, he’d have saved thousands of dollars on a horse, plus having to reupholster his car, concussions via Kwik-E-Mart doors shutting on his head, and not having to deal with a snooty breeder who is against a pound where you could get a cheap horse that ran away from home. Sadly, the 3DS wasn’t around then and the Game Boy couldn’t have rendered this.