Pocket Card Jockey:Ride On! Logo
Pocket Card Jockey:Ride On! Icon
Pocket Card Jockey:Ride On!

Developer: GAME FREAK

Competititve Mutliplayer
  • Price: $15.00
  • Release Date: Feb 21, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1 - 4
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E10+ [Everyone 10+]
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  • Watch this review on YouTube
    A fiercely addictive mix of solitaire and horse racing sim that’s an absolute delight

    Since this is a title made by Game Freak, a company you may have heard of who helped make Pokemon a household name, I would imagine that many people would tend to think nothing made by them could be considered an indie game. The thing is, based on the elevator pitch alone, that since this is a game that blends together solitaire, some strategy, and a horse racing simulation, I would absolutely beg to differ. In my mind, things being indie is more about their spirit, a willingness to take risks, and to let your freak flag fly to discover new styles of play and concepts… and that’s something that just about any company could tackle. Sorry, it’s just an argument I’ve had before with people that feels like it very much applies to this unusual, but quite brilliant, game made by a well-known company.

    Now, to open I’ll share that I’ve never played this before in its earlier iteration on the 3DS, so I won’t be able to compare and contrast any changes that have been made since then. What I can tell you is that I walked in knowing little more than the fact that I’ve seen some folks I respect rave about it, so I decided I had to check it out… and I wasn’t at all disappointed. This is a great and unusual concept that has been meticulously planned and executed, and it’s one of the most outright addictive games I’ve played in quite some time. What’s great is that it’s pretty strong right out of the gate, but then much like the in-game action it’s also a title that has the stamina to go the distance and keep going, leaving many lesser titles gasping for breath left behind.

    So, in execution there are multiple pieces you’ll need to become familiar with, and since there can be quite a lot of nuance and subtleties to learn, be ready for this to take a little while to fully get your arms around. The most vital element is being on top of your Solitaire game, but with more of a strategic edge than you may be used to. Here the goal is not just to clear the board, but to try to do so drawing out your runs as much as possible, and that takes some very quick planning since you’ll always be up against the clock. Then you’ll start to get into what the different race positions are, and why you want to be in certain spots in specific situations. Next you’ll need to learn how to understand your horse’s perks and quirks so that you’re sure you’re maximizing what they can do on the track every time. Then you’ll start breeding horses, introducing more elements to consider. As you may have gathered, what I’m saying is that the game has remarkable depth, but what I appreciated is that even when you don’t have it all together you’ll at least typically feel like you’re in the battle, with success within reach if you can just get your overall game together well enough.

    Of course, that’s also leaving out the game’s quirky characters and offbeat sense of humor, the tension of trying to break out of the pack as the finish line approaches, and a multitude of other elements that make this experience a special one. As many games as I play on a weekly basis, it tends to take something remarkable to truly keep me hooked and coming back repeatedly, but even with some other worthy options this is the game that has tended to be at the front of my mind most. It’s one of those experiences that manages to make an hour evaporate in a snap, as after pretty well every race you’ll feel like you know what you could have done better and are eager to test yourself once more. While it may be a re-release to the ones who’ve played it before, perhaps sapping a little bit of their enthusiasm down the straightaway, I’m here to tell you that this is one of the most unique and satisfying games I’ve played on the system, and is absolutely an experience everyone should be checking out.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Hall-Of-Fame [9.5]

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