Girls join Barbie on horseback in the National Horse Charity Event and ride through eight unique locations in a race to the finish line, meeting friends along the way. Girls ride their horses through each area, combining skill and speed to dodge obstacles such as falling rocks, rolling bales of hay, forest animals and more! The equestrians use their talent to earn gold coins for charity, as well as blue, red or white ribbons for their very own trophy cases. It's the ultimate in horse racing as girls guide Barbie to victory in this spectacular cross-country event.
--From the GBA Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race instruction manual.
"Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race" is a beautifully detailed, 3-D, isometric, horse racing game that has very little to do with Barbie. The racing in "Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race" is of the cross country variety, and Barbie will have to avoid environmental hazards on the track. While the level design, sharp graphics, and vivid colors are outstanding, there isn't much else to support "Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race" in the way of substance or gameplay.
One of the requisite characteristics of any racing game is speed, until now. "Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race" features what might be the slowest horses on earth. The pace of the game is snail-like, and frequently broken up by bizarre gameplay. At certain points in the race track, Barbie will happen upon a rickety bridge. The bridges can only be traversed by unmounting the horse and walking across the bridge while the horse follows from behind. I can't imagine what purpose is served by compelling the racehorse to stop racing, but the slow pace and incohesive gameplay critically damage "Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race", turning it into a snooze fest. I had to drink multiple pots of coffee to dedicate the time to playing this game for the purpose of this review.
The controls would be infuriating, except the slow pace prevents the wonky controls from having a detrimental effect to the player's racing ability. To be fair, most games that use a directional pad to navigate a 3-D isometric map are awkward at best, the technique just doesn't typically work well, but as previously stated, when moving at the pace of a wounded sloth, the controls are of little consequence.
"Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race" is a game that is appropriately targeted towards a younger audience. It's almost like a screensaver that you can interact with. The graphics would delight any gamer, but the lack of difficulty and lethargic pace make this game especially approachable for a less experienced gamer. There is a good amount of unlockable content, but most of it is focused on costume changes or new horses, neither of which serve a functional purpose in the game, but might be entertaining for kids. "Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race's" narrow focus on the graphics, and frustrating gameplay prevent it from being enjoyed by a broader audience.
There are eight different riding events that Barbie can participate in. Each event must be completed within a given time. In each of the events there are items that can be collected on the track including balloons, flowers, and coins. The lettered balloons that are strewn across the track (spelling BARBIE) are the most important because they grant Barbie extra time on the track.
Barbie is able to unlock horses, mini-games, and outfits by finishing in first, second, or third place. By finishing in the top 3, Barbie also earns money for charity. There are 64 extra horses that can be unlocked.
Mini-games, horses, and costumes can be accessed from the main menu once they are unlocked from racing.
This game utilizes a password to recall progress.
|A Button||Hold to run|
|R Button||Mount / Stop dismount|