New game alert: Raise your own adorable ponies in Ponyland

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Ponyland is a brand new game spotted in the wild that will make your heart ache with overwhelming cuteness. Don't say we didn't warn you! This game appears to be the first Facebook game effort by an individual game developer, and we think it's important to pay attention to the little guys as well as the big names like Zynga and Playdom. Ponyland is just what you'd expect given the name; a delightfully charming pony-raising game that brings together some of the best elements of dollhousing games such as SPP! Ranch along with the farming mechanic that we all are intimately familiar with.

When you first start out in Ponyland, you are greeted with a few screens giving you a general overview on how to play. Nothing here is unfamiliar. You can mate your ponies with your neighbor's ponies in order to create baby horses that look like their parents. You can farm to buy food for your ponies, and if you don't come back frequently enough to take care of your pony it will get sick and need medicine. You start off with one pony, and you can pick from three different colors. Once you pick your pony, it will move itself into a corral and begin to walk around. The art is highly stylized - in fact, it barely looks like a pony. It's still adorable though, and we couldn't help but want to take care of it. Clicking on a pony will give you the option to customize its appearance by buying additional colors, eyes, mouths - even wings and horns.
An interesting mechanic in Ponyland is the concept of mating. Mating can be done with your neighbor's ponies, or with the one sample pony that is provided for you. The resulting pony from the breeding will automatically inherit the appearance from one of its parents, which has a small chance to include any valuable customizations that were made to the parent (such as expensive wings and horns). This adds a nice element of chance that makes mating more of a lottery experience. It does cost Pony Coins (the free currency) to breed ponies with each other.
Ponyland also features a farming simulation similar to FarmVille that allows players to plant their own food for their pony. This is the basic way to level up in the game to unlock new ponies and decorations. Plants need to be harvested when they are ready, and new seeds can be planted. Ponyland doesn't bring anything new to the table as far as farming goes. Similar to other Facebook games, your farm can be expanded and you can plant additional plots to allow yourself faster experience gains.

All in all, we're pretty impressed by this little title. The biggest issue with the game right now is that a lot of the English translation was not done correctly, so there are many awkward phrases. The UI is clean and slick and the fonts are reminiscent of games such as Jungle Extreme and Birdland. Though Ponyland doesn't bring anything new and unique to the Facebook gaming scene, horse lovers like myself will greatly enjoy this cute overload. The art is cutsey, cartoony, and fun. The game is surprisingly complete at this stage of the game, and was actually quite fun to play. Caring for your own pony is a fun experience that many people are likely to enjoy, and there hasn't been a pony game that has brought top level execution just yet. We experienced some troubles playing it in Google Chrome, but after switching to Firefox it loaded just fine for us.

Ponyland launched officially on May 19th, so it has only been around for a couple weeks. The game 5,661 monthly active users as of this writing, but we're sure it's just undiscovered as of yet. With a strong art style, a fun theme that hasn't been done well yet, and solid game mechanics - we hope this game sticks around and gets the development and support that it needs to be truly great.

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