It appears that the mobile platform has become the number-one location for those video-gamers who want some horse racing action. Whilst console gaming has long neglected horse racing fans, preferring to focus on sport simulations of football and tennis, mobile gaming has somewhat stormed from behind to capture the market.
However, whilst many of the platform’s horse-related games have focused upon the act of racing itself, Virtual Horse Racing 3D differentiates itself by exclusively focusing on the enterprise of betting.
Whilst this approach may deter younger games, who prefer more pace and reactive gameplay, it is perfect for perhaps the older generation of mobile users, who are only just beginning to explore the world of app gaming.
Virtual Horse Racing 3D is participially ideal for seasoned punters. That is the type of emerging app gamer who will be first in line to bet on the 2015 Grand National, and will want a bit of virtual betting whilst they wait to decide whether Shutthefrontdoor is the current ante-post favourite for good reason.
However, the game would also be suitable for young children – perhaps those who want to imitate a betting relative. Its simplistic interface and attractive presentation would be the perfect introduction to the activity, even if the game’s faults would limit its appeal to more experienced gamers.
Virtual Horse Racing 3D allows users to bet on races consisting of up to eight runners. The game provides the player with information, accompanied with a range of statistics, to assist their decision-making process prior to the race commencing. Whilst the basic game, which you can download for free, offers very few betting options and variances, the paid upgrade gives you a plethora of new options that are well worth the low price tag.
However, despite this, the outcome of races can occasionally veer towards random and this can be frustrating. Whilst no horse betting fan would deny that anything can occur in any given race, Virtual Horse Racing 3D can sometimes seem nothing more than a randomised lottery. The game, developed by Natenai Ariyatrakool, somewhat neutralised this sporadic lack of depth with its polished presentation and sharp graphics.
Virtual Horse Racing 3D advertises itself as the ‘most realistic 3D horse racing game on the iPhone‘ and, at least from a graphical standpoint, it is not wrong.
The game’s graphics, despite occasionally ugly textures and an odd lack of fencing around the track, are highly detailed, completely fluid and competently designed. Considering that, beyond altering bets, users cannot interact with the race at all.
It was, however, wise for Ariyatrakool to craft realistic movement and vibrant locations – not to mention pleasing stylistic features, such as slow motion – to keep the races appealing and engrossing.
Moreover, the various horses and jockeys available are both individual and distinctive. Whilst it is natural and understandable for app games to somewhat reuse models, it was refreshing to see that Virtual Horse Racing 3D does not do so too often and is careful to vary them considerably.
However, despite both the betting system and presentation being solid, Virtual Horse Racing 3D lacks the subtle details and imaginative touches that make a game truly great. For example, the developer did not incorporate any random occurrences into the races. Therefore, horses never fall over nor do jockeys fall off.
This sadly distracts from the game’s more organic elements and instead highlights the mechanical nature of the core dynamics. Moreover, even though the game varies up the surface of the racetrack, it appears to have little impact on either the outcome or presentation of the races themselves. A subtle change in animation, or alteration of leading horses, would have added a nice touch of realism.
Consequently, Virtual Horse Racing 3D is a solid edition to the sub-genre and unique for its focus on betting. However, despite its competent handling of the basics, it ultimately falls down at the last hurdle due to a lack of finishing details and overall polish.