Unpleasant Horse Review

Here’s the background on Unpleasant Horse: the creative types working at PopCap (the makers of Plants Vs Zombies and Peggle) realized they had all kinds of game ideas that, for one reason or other, didn’t jive with PopCap’s vision. So they created a side-project called 4th & Battery as a way to get these games out to gamers. Unpleasant Horse is the first 4th & Battery project, and it’s quite clear why it would never be released as an official PopCap game: it’s too brief and demented.

In Unpleasant Horse, you play as the titular antihero, a black, winged horse who goes around ruining the lives of happy sky animals who glide through the stratosphere minding their business. This is an endless jumping game, so the goal is to jump from one platform to the next, covering as much distance as possible.

Behind you, behind you!

But you can only land on two things: clouds and white horses. When you land on a cloud, you can perch on it for as long as you want, plotting your next jump. But when you land on the back of a white horse, it plummets to the ground immediately. For some reason the ground is covered with spinning saw blades, so you have to hop off of the white horse while it’s being diced into equine mincemeat before the same thing happens to you.

The only other gameplay elements are birds, which you can grab to get extra mid-air jumps. These are necessary because, as you get further into the level, the clouds and horses to land on become fewer and farther between. Of course all good things must come to an end, so eventually you’ll you’ll fall to the grinder blades of death (try to do this with dignity). Normally, high score games like this would send your score to an online leaderboard, but for some reason Unpleasant Horse is missing this feature.

Although the gameplay is perhaps a little too simplistic for our tastes, the presentation in Unpleasant Horse is top-notch. The graphics are great, the premise is pleasantly twisted, and the music adds a classical counterpoint to the Adult Swim-style madness happening on the screen. The app is free right now, so if you think you can handle the cartoony sadism of Unpleasant Horse, give it a shot.

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