Grab your tablets and smartphones, because it’s time for another installment of Android Amusements. This week, we’re looking at Pocket Stables, one of Kairosoft’s most recent simulations. As you can gather from the title, it’s about managing a stable and horses, in the hopes of breeding champion racehorses.
Pocket Stables is a game about race horses. The player has just opened a ranch and hopes to one day have the fastest race horses in the world. When I began, I started out with a stable, a walking exercise area, some flowers and a couple thousand dollars to spend on horses, a jockey and more items for my land. I decided to go with two horses from two different breeds, to place a relaxation area and water training area, a jockey home and an ice cream parlor. Yes, an ice cream parlor. While most of the game centers around training and racing horses, you also want your ranch to look appealing and have some stores and restaurants to cater to visitors who stop by between races. As time goes on, more options become available to players. I could train my horses and jockeys, breed my horses, research new horse breeds, enter races and layout my ranch in such a way that visitors would spend lots of money every time they visited.
I never felt lost with Pocket Stables. There’s a small tutorial integrated into the game. Each gameplay element and factor is explained as it is introduced, so I always knew exactly what I could and should do to succeed. It’s a change from earlier games like Pocket Academy, where players were thrown in and expected to just figure out what to do for themselves.
I also liked how there were multiple training options to improve horses. I could spend money on certain actions to directly influence stats, I could add certain stations to my ranch so horses could train there and naturally improve and the jockeys on staff would train with assigned horses to improve their skills. I also liked that I could choose which stations the horses would go to, or just allow them to go to whichever one was open.
However, I would have liked a little more direct control over the actual races. Before a race begins, players can choose what tactic they’d like the jockey to employ with the horse. You can try for an early lead, for example, or perhaps keep pace and make a dash for the end. While I understand it’s all based on stats, I would have liked the ability to perhaps issue one order to the jockey during the race. Of course, all races are quite short, so in retrospect there probably wouldn’t even be time for it.
Still, Pocket Stables is a solid game. Plus, it retains that classic Kairosoft visual appeal. Every building and character looks distinct, so I was never left wondering what fascilities I had on my ranch. I also liked that the horses are remarkably detailed. I was actually able to differentiate between breeds without tapping on them for more information.
Basically, if you like Kairosoft games or love horses, you’re going to enjoy Pocket Stables. It isn’t one of the best Kairosoft games, but it isn’t the worst either. It’s just about average. Of course, I’m of the sound belief that even the most average Kairosoft game is better than a great off-brand, match-3, hidden object timesink. I still say this is a game you should play if you want another simulation where you can control everything. Go ahead and give Kairosoft the $4.99 for it.