Spirit Riding Free Trick Challenge

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Spirit Riding Free Trick Challenge App Poster Image
Horse-riding TV tie-in is a decent one-trick pony.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Most of the tricks are fairly easy to pull off on their own, though some can get more complicated when combining timing, balance, etc. The real difficulty comes in performances, where players rely on memory to chain tricks together.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

While the game's a totally free release, without the trappings of in-app purchases, its main purpose is to serve as an interactive advertisement for the DreamWorks and Netflix animated series on which it's based.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spirit Riding Free Trick Challenge is a free horse-riding game available for download on iOS and Android mobile devices. The game is based on the Spirit Riding Free animated series from DreamWorks and Netflix. Players take on the role of "Lucky" Prescott as she trains with her horse Spirit to perform a variety of riding tricks, using a combination of swipes, taps, and other motions. After practicing these tricks, players set up custom performance shows that require chaining the tricks together. The game's designed for younger audiences, particularly fans of the show, and features no violence or other objectional content.

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What's it about?

SPIRIT RIDING FREE TRICK CHALLENGE brings the adventure and the story of the DreamWorks and Netflix animated series, Spirit Riding Free, to mobile devices. Players take on the role of young city-girl Fortuna "Lucky" Prescott, as she trains with her wild mustang, Spirit, bonding with the horse as the two work together and perform wonderous tricks. As Lucky, players will need to practice various tricks, starting with the basics before moving on to more complex tests of skill and balance. Once they've mastered these tricks, players show off their hard work and training in customized performances that string together tricks from memory. It might be challenging, but there's no obstacle that Lucky and Spirit can't overcome together.

Is it any good?

In this age of "free-to-play" games, full of in-app purchases, subscriptions, ads, and other monetization methods, it's surprising to find a game that's well and truly free. Of course, it becomes a lot more understandable when you realize that Spirit Riding Free Trick Challenge is actually just one big interactive advertisement for a kids' animated series. The game's based on the DreamWorks and Netflix animated series Spirit Free Riding, and it makes sure that you know it, plastering its "Now Streaming" logo on the home screen. That's not to say there isn't more to the app than just advertising, but you shouldn't expect any kind of rich gaming experience either. 

The main gist of the gameplay is pretty simple. Players spend time practicing the motions for different horse-riding tricks that definitely should never be tried at home. These include doing cartwheels on the back of the horse and jumping through rings of fire, all things that would likely have animal activists in an uproar. Still, the controls are relatively easy, with the bulk of the difficulty being in memorizing the patterns required for each trick. After mastering a set of tricks, players put that memory to the test by creating custom performances that chain tricks together, but give players none of the onscreen prompts to execute those tricks. While it can be entertaining initially, the game gets repetitive quickly. Plus, there's a surprising lack of content considering the source material. Players only train and perform in one area and none of the show's supporting cast ever makes an appearance. As a result, serious fans of the Spirit show will love this app, but casual viewers will probably move on to a different app after a little while.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about commercialism in entertainment. How are games sometimes used more as promotion for other forms of entertainment, such as movies, TV shows, or even kids' toys?

  • Families can talk about practice and training. What are some ways that practice and dedication can improve one's skills and talent?

App details

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