Let’s saddle up! It’s time to get on the track and feel the wind whiz through our hair, as the crowd cheers in the stands. The thrill, and excitement, at the races is enthralling. The rumbling of the horses, on the field, is captivating. And the combination of the classic solitaire game, and the horse racing concept is the total package. Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! was released in January of 2023 by Game Freak Inc. It is the sequel to Pocket Card Jockey, which was released on 3DS. Currently, it’s available on Apple Arcade. Enough capitulating…on to the review!
Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
There are some more horseracing games out there, to take a gander at.
Story – Race To Win
You play as a rookie jockey, trying to win a competitive horse race. The main character is upbeat and enthusiastic in a way that uplifts you. It’s all about winning races. The more races you win, the closer you get to the derby. The game’s story is down to earth and makes for a great concept because you, as the player, want to see the rookie jockey succeed in his quest to be champion of the racetrack. The overall pace of the story is consistent and flows between the previous encounters in the game. The game’s comedic dash throughout is also a hoot to have. The rookie jockey’s adorable innocence in how he uses his words toward other characters is priceless. He means well, but sometimes he doesn’t grasp the situation. If you like to play games with a sense of comedic innocence, then this game is for you.
Gameplay – Solitaire and Horseracing
The player starts off choosing which gender they want to be and the type of jockey uniform they want to wear. In the game, these are called silks and come in different colors and line patterns. Once you have given your jockey a name, it is time for you and your horse to prove what you’ve got. The track will consist of areas where people are required to play a round of Solitaire to advance in the race. The overall feel of the game is pretty solid. Adding Solitaire, with horse racing, makes for an enjoyable experience. The gameplay pushes forward nicely. It has a steady beat between the race, the Solitaire, and the interactions with the characters in the game. It doesn’t get complicated, and you don’t get lost in the shuffle of understanding the overall feel of what the game is trying to bring to the table.
The Solitaire part of the race is fun because it makes the player want to do well for the characters they are playing as. You see in slow motion, as you try to finish the Solitaire round quickly, the horses trying to win the race. This aspect gets you pumped up even more. The game is relatively easy to learn throughout the time that the player plays it.
A trainer, named Mr. Maekawa, will offer you a horse to train with. While training, you’ll discover that your side hobby, playing Solitaire, will come in handy during your races. It will guide you, and your horse, to victory. A horse, named Horse Off-Course, will help the player learn how to incorporate Solitaire with horse racing. After the cards are all cleared in a round of Solitaire, the training has been completed.
During the game, players will obtain horses along the way. These horses will get stronger as the game progresses. The different types of horses out on the track, running their little hooves forward, made the different kinds of mounts much more fun to watch.
Next, you’ll head to an actual racecourse, where those that complete the race objective will obtain bonus coins. Also, along the way, the horse will gain experience and level up. The horse will receive stat bonuses like speed, stamina, peak time, and whips. Skills will also be picked up throughout the game. Players must focus on the horse’s stamina and energy throughout the race. Besides the Solitaire parts of the race, the player also has to decide where they are on the track and what they will do with their horse once they enter the down stretch. Do they speed up by using the whip on the horse, or put on the brakes to not hit the other horses?
A gear icon will be in the title screen’s top right corner, leading to settings. This is where people can adjust the sound levels and save the game’s data. Players can also turn off the rumble feature. Beside a green button at the bottom of the screen to save one’s progress, people can also find a language button. This button will change the text into the type of language the player desires to use. This section also has a tips list where players can discover certain game aspects. It is under the small question mark button next to the word “options” at the top of the screen. These tips are well organized, allowing players to check on things they might not understand throughout the game. It is a nice feature to have.
Audio & Graphics – Colorfully Showcased
Throughout Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!, the player is met with a beautiful vibe of music and graphics.
The soundtrack for each location of the game is soothing and matches the situation the person is going through at that moment. During gameplay, the sound effects in the game are top-notch. You hear them distinctly, from the sound of the horse to the sound of the humans involved. I enjoyed the sounds made during the Solitaire portion of the races. It got you pumped up to complete the round of Solitaire faster. In addition to the sounds made in the Solitaire sequences, I liked the sounds in the game, away from the actual races as well. The combination of this and the graphics in Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! complemented each other greatly.
Witnessing the animation design within Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! was such a pleasant treat! The images were so bubbly, and fun to look at. The little horses looked adorable. The cut-scenes between the people talking to one another and the races made the game even more exciting. I enjoyed how the backgrounds during the dialogue interactions were still images, and the race sequences had moving backgrounds and were more animated. It made for a more exciting concept. Take a breather when you are going to talk to someone, and then get back into battle mode once you are on the track. The cute little animation details, like the horses sweating to try to move forward in the race, gave Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! an extra touch. Also, the commentary mic during the down stretch part of the race, acting like the race caller at an actual track, is a nice bonus.
This review was done playing Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! on an iPhone.