Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!
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Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! is a card strategy game exclusively for Apple Arcade. Players take on the role of a young jockey trying to become the best rider in the world by guiding their horses to victory in a series of races, promoting perseverance towards their goal. There's nothing inappropriate to be found within the game itself, though some people may take exception to using whips on horses to make them go faster. But horses aren't shown being injured or damaged by this, and it can only be done a limited amount of times before the option runs out. Players will find that the challenge is in clearing solitaire rounds, as well as balancing out the tactics of when to use your energy or when to conserve it in races, which makes it more hands on than other card games. There's also large spikes in difficulty, so even with attention paid to these mechanics, players will still face impossible odds in some events.
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What’s It About?
Get ready to place your bets and lead your horse to the winner's circle in POCKET CARD JOCKEY: RIDE ON! In this hybrid strategy card game, you take on the role of a young jockey looking to follow your dreams of becoming a name in the racing world. But when you're kicked and killed by a horse at a stable before you've even gotten into the saddle, it takes the intervention of an angel that was successful at the racetrack to give you a second chance. The angel makes a deal: pursue your dreams, or be sentenced to "eternal dangnation" down in "heck." As a result, when you come to, you embark on a run with a horse trainer and your mentor, Mr. Maekawa, to become the greatest jockey in the world. But it's not that simple – players will select a horse and attempt to balance their energy output and pacing during a race so they can complete the course and hopefully come in first place. To do this, they'll need to play games of solitaire (which can be easy to difficult, based on your positioning on the track) and clear as many cards as possible, with perfect clears providing energy and stamina boosts to the horse. This isn't a leisurely game of cards either – a timer counts seconds down during each round, putting additional pressure on you to match cards faster. Once you've completed each round of cards, you'll enter the home stretch, where you'll need to tap the screen to move your horse between your opponents, using your whip to urge the horse to move faster and boost cards to propel them towards the finish line. Between races, you'll purchase additional bonus items, plan out your career path with upcoming events, and start to raise the next generation of race horses on your farm. With a little luck, some planning, and a great deal of skill, you'll possibly become the best the sport has ever seen.
Is It Any Good?
Solitaire might not seem like an intense card game, but thanks to the developers of Pokemon, you'll want to be the very best jockey in the land, thanks to its mix of tactics and strategy. Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! shakes up the traditional card game with varying rounds of difficulty based on the position of the track you're on – closer to the railing and near the front? There's only a few lines of cards. Towards the middle of the pack? Vastly more cards to eliminate. On top of this, there's a sense of urgency thanks to a timer that counts down, reducing the bonus energy your horse receives for eliminating cards when you get back to the race portion of the game. As a result, you're always looking for ways to clear every card for bonus energy and position your horse for a final charge, where you'll have to physically maneuver around opponents for a sprint to the finish line. Here, all of your hard work in previous rounds either pays off or falls apart, because you can try to gain a comfortable lead at the start, or stay in the pack and sprint ahead at the right time.
While this part of the game can be exhilarating, it showcases the biggest issue of the game, which is that the difficulty of each round isn't always consistent – you can position yourself in exactly the same manner from one race to the next, but be pitted against horses that are vastly better and more powerful than yours. Even if you clear every single solitaire round perfectly, you'll still lose, and that's even if you've purchased bonus items to give your horse a fighting chance. Since the only thing that it eliminates is one possible path on the career for that particular horse, it's not a massive detraction that fully ruins the gameplay, but it is disappointing that the deck can be stacked so far against you in some races, even if you do your best to clear it entirely. This issue aside, though, Pocket Card Jockey places a new and entertaining spin on the Solitaire formula.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about competitive sports. Does the action of Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! seem fair to the horses that are involved in the races? Are they being valued for their speed and stamina, or simply valued for the wins and money they provide their owners? Does it really matter since the horses aren't real, or does it indicate a lack of care towards the animals?
Do you feel more of a challenge going against human opponents or computer-controlled ones? Is there something that you can learn from both? Which kind do you feel will make you stronger at a game, a skill, or a task?
- Platform: Apple Arcade
- Pricing structure: Paid (Part of Apple Arcade subscription, which is $4.99/month.)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Game Freak
- Release date: January 17, 2023
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Horses and Farm Animals
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: February 3, 2023
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