Uma no Prince-sama - iOS/Android Review

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  • System: iOS/Android
  • Publisher: USAYA Co., Ltd.
  • Developer: USAYA Co., Ltd.
  • Release Date: Date: October 7, 2016
  • Pricing:Free, offers in-app purchases
  • Rating: 12+
  • Genre: Otome, Visual Novel
  • Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/umaPuri5

Who it caters to

Are you bored of current mobile otome games on the market? Sure, the guys are cute and there’s a character trope for everyone, but you might feel they’re lacking something that makes them stand out from the crowd. Maybe it’s different game mechanics or a unique storyline you’re after. Or maybe it’s… A game where you date a horse with a handsome face?

If you’ve ever played or even heard of Hatoful Boyfriend, the visual novel where you date boys that are actually anthropomorphic pigeons, Uma no Prince-sama comes from a similar vein. This equestrian parody of idol-boy otome game Uta no Prince-sama might not be as well-developed as its aviary counterpart, but it has the same laugh-out-loud quality of ridiculousness.

The latest iOS and Android app from lovers of the absurd USAYA, Uma no Prince-sama is their first otome game - and hopefully not their last. If you’re looking for something hilarious to pass some spare time, why not join us as we trot off into the world where horses may or may not appear extremely attractive…?

What to expect

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Uma no Prince-sama works in a similar way to other free otome visual novels available for mobile. You start with a prologue chapter where you meet a handsome guy, then you have to work to get him to like you back. However, Uma no Prince-sama doesn’t offer the variety that most games of this kind do - you’re stuck with one man... Horse. Anyway. This means there is only one route you can go down. There also aren’t any choices in the visual novel part of the game, which means the route doesn’t branch at all.

However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t get to make any choices that affect the game. Between each chapter are missions you must complete, part of which involves interacting with the horse-boy. Your reward? Those romantic cut scenes that every otome fan yearns for - except one hundred times funnier. Each of these scenes is saved to an album, so you can relive each moment whenever you feel like it. Or shut it away in the vault and pretend it never happened. Either way.

One more thing to expect with this being a free-to-play game is advertisements. Constant background floating ads, the option to watch a video in order to get another talk session with your manhorse, and the frequent pop up (but skippable) advertisements can get old pretty quickly, but are also useful if you’re like me and refuse to spend real money on a game about dating a horse. If you don’t mind spending money, however, in-app purchases are available in the form of golden carrots and horseshoes to make those pesky missions take up less time.

Story 

The player and protagonist Umako (another play on the Japanese word for horse, ‘uma’ - you can change the name but with such a great pun, why would you?) was once a high-flying businesswoman. That is, until she got sick of having to look at gross middle-aged men in the office every day. What Umako needs is eye candy - and not just any eye candy. Umako has got high expectations, and will settle for nothing less than a prince in shining armour.

But where should she find her prince? Umako wonders, what do princes do? With her faultless logic, she realises - they ride horses, obviously! Where do you find horses? Farms in the middle of nowhere, of course! Perfect. Job done. Or at least that’s what she thought. Arriving at her chosen ranch, she ends up face-to-very-human-face with a horse… Man… Thing. No, we’re not talking about a centaur here. Yuuma is literally a horse with the face of a hottie. From the neck down, he’s 100% horse (we assume, but honestly are afraid to imagine).

He may not be half the prince she’s been searching for, but he is around an eighth at least. Before she knows it, Umako is head over hooves for Yuuma. But he has a dark past… He’s been abandoned by his former owner! Owning a horse isn’t cheap, we’re reminded - what with all the carrots and treadmills you have to buy. However, as we’ve learnt, our Umako isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, so when faced with a clopping kabedon, she immediately agrees to become Yuuma’s new owner. Good luck, girl. Ride on.

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Other than Umako and Yuuma, there’s the farmer, who resembles nothing more or less than a twisty scribble. This character appears in different variations through the chapters, including a construction worker and Umako’s pet dog. The interaction between him and Umako is mostly a typical boke-tsukkomi style comedy back-and-forth, although he is the one to reveal why Yuuma looks the way he does. It’s all in Umako’s head, because she’s the zodiac year of the horse. Of course! It all makes sense now. Let’s just not think about how that means Yuuma is literally just a horse.

Gameplay

Much like other free mobile otome games, you can’t just read straight through Uma no Prince-sama. After each chapter of the visual novel, you have to complete a mission in order to deepen your bond with the horse with a handsome face. These missions take various forms, but all include completing a certain task which drains your horse-boy’s motivation, and all of which are lengthy. Such missions include feeding him carrots, ‘intense’ training on treadmills despite being in an open field, construction work, chopping the world record number of green onions, and surfboarding. No, seriously.
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Once his motivation goes down, so do the points you get per task. To increase his motivation again, you have to talk to him, and this is where your choice of answer affects how much motivation he regains. The better your answers, the quicker you can get through the mission and get your reward - a lovey-dovey (?) moment with your definitely-not-a-centaur. These moments are all hilarious parodies of your typical otome moments - kabedon, agogui, being fed whilst saying ‘ahh’… Yes. Apparently, horses can hold chopsticks now. Times are changing.

One thing that’s surprising about Uma no Prince-sama is that most of the art is actually quite good. If you take away Farmer Scribble, the crayon-style farm background, and the fact that Yuuma is a horse with a human head, it’s fairly pretty to look at - especially the faces. Okay, Yuuma’s face. Don’t tell anyone I said that. Basically, the art works well with the humour and reflects the way you feel when playing this - mostly fine with a hint of “what the hell am I doing with my life right now.”

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The same goes for the sound. The background music is simple and fairytale like, but the sound effects are ridiculous. Every time a character moves to speak there’s a faint clopping sound and completing a task in the missions is accompanied by a dramatic noise. One thing that is definitely missing in the sound department though is voice acting - like many other aspects of Uma no Prince-sama, the characters’ voices are left up to your imagination.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Overall, Uma no Prince-sama is a game purely made for laughs. It’s not a game you can marathon and complete in one setting, but rather something to waste a couple of minutes between doing other things. Although it’s currently only available in Japanese, the art itself is enough to get a gist of what’s going on and to get a good laugh out of. As it’s limited in its depth, features, and character options, this isn’t a game for anyone looking for a serious mobile otome game - or for anyone who would be ashamed to be seen flirting with a 2D horse with a human face in public. It is however certainly an experience that, if you share this sense of humour, you don’t want to miss out on.

Honey's Pros:

  • Easy to play
  • Hilarious storyline and characters
  • Mixture of attractive and humorous art
  • Laugh-out-loud ‘romantic’ cut scenes

Honey's Cons:

  • Only in Japanese (as of October 2016)
  • No voice acting
  • Missions take forever
  • Only one route

Honey's Final Verdict:

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Look at my horse, my horse is amazing - yes, I may or may not have had the Get on My Horse song of 2009 in my head the entire time I played this game. But seriously, this horse IS amazing. Yuuma is more than a just pretty face - he can do things that horses really can’t and shouldn’t be allowed to do, like hold a can of coffee and smoke a cigarette whilst gazing coolly into the distance. Yuuma is the source of most of the humour in this game, mainly because of his appearance. You can’t help but laugh every time he shows up, ears swinging in the breeze, glitter dancing all around his face. Incredible.

Just a few of things let this game down. One, the lack of variety in the storyline. Although this is a new game and things may change depending on its success or lack thereof, the current lack of branching in the route as well as there only being one route to follow is a bit of a let down. Just think how much more hilarious this game could be with a tsundere megane stallion or a delinquent pony with a heart of gold to go after? The second let down is the lack of voice acting. Who cares about the scribble guy, I want to hear Yuuma speaking with a voice as attractive as his face. Or at least some neighing, come on.

One thing that is particularly annoying if you’re the type to want to play a game continuously rather than spending a few minutes on it here and there is the amount of time it takes to complete missions. Whilst Yuuma’s motivation does increase by itself over time, it takes way too long, and even getting an excellent score when talking to him only lasts a little while. Of course, if you don’t mind sitting through advertisement videos, you can have as many conversations with him as you like - but it still takes ages.

Saying that, in my opinion, it’s worth slogging it through the missions for the hilarity that ensues. At the end of the day, Uma no Prince-sama is a game for those who love parodies, enjoy anything ridiculous, and want to be able to say “I played a mobile game once where you dated a horse with a human face.” So if you fall into any of those categories, it’s time to click that download button with pride, and gallop into the world of this weird and wonderful otome game.

Ellyn Barnes

Editor/Translator

Author: Ellyn Barnes

Gudetama goods collector with a soft spot for seiyuu and an undying love for Matsuoka Rin. When I'm not smashing out the latest news in the office, you'll find me holed up at home watching anime, playing rhythm games, and sobbing because Miyano Mamoru exists. Other interests include reading far too much bad BL and occasionally trying to create stuff.

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