My Little Pony is an app created by Gameloft for the hit My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV series, now made available for iOS and Android.This game plays similarly to The Simpsons: Tapped Out, as well as the earlier The Smurfs Village with you collecting bits and gems and heart crystals to rebuild Ponyville, unlock more items and ponies and eventually defeat Nightmare Moon. As it is very closely bound to the mythology and themes of its parent cartoon, you can refer to the trope pages for the cartoon as well for even more info related to this game.
This game uses these tropes:
Accidental Pun: Minor meta example. You can acquire Sweet Apple Acres, a location known for apple products, in a game that can be played on Apple products like the iPhone and iPad.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: It's been estimated that it would either take 3 years of completely free playing to earn enough gems to buy the required ponies to complete the game, or about $80 (USD) to buy the needed gems outright. This doesn't consider all the side ponies that you may want to get, nor is it counting that some of the shops or items you'll need to complete the quests require payment in gems*
Also barring mistakes that would accidentally make you use gems- and due to the lack of confirmation dialogs, these mistakes are easy to make
. More infuriating when you realize that some of these objectives CANNOT BE SKIPPED. All quests must be finished to complete the game, and so, this brings it up to a total of $200+, or 15 years or consecutive-day playing. The estimation may also be too low: one player actually abused the time travel glitch to complete the game and noted that he finished his last quest with the calendar in 2018. That's a little over 5 years!
The Christmas update thankfully amended the issue for the most part. Now, by watching a few minutes worth of ads, you can make up to 10 gems per day, in addition to the ones you could get before. This still means around two years or so to get EVERYTHING, but the main storyline is far from an issue. It also increased the chances of getting a free gem from certain actions (especially finding Derpy)
It also lowered the prices for several ponies and shops required for the main quest or outright changed the price to bits in some cases. However, with the addition of new ponies bought for gems, the cost in total, if you wanted to get everything, remains roughly the same.
It may be worth bringing up that The Smurfs Village, one of the games that led to the success of village simulators on mobile systems used a different approach to avert this trope. When a certain item required for a task can only be bought with Smurfberries (the counterpart to Gems in MLP), that item is instantly unlocked for purchase using standard currency, meaning using Smurfberries is only to get the item at an earlier level.
And let us not forget Hearts. While easier to obtain than gems once you know how to do it, let's take into account some of these players are quite young and their parent(s) will not allow them to make Gameloft accounts and thus, be able to send or receive hearts, and will be stuck indefinitely on the "Get Along, Little One" mission.
The long and short of it: if you want all of the ponies, you need over 3000 gems, worth 200 US dollars. Celestia alone requires 70 dollars worth at minimum. Pretty steep for a children's game.
Alternate Continuity: The game's story assumes that Nightmare Moon was indeed able to cover Equestria in darkness (well, late afternoon) more successfully than she did in the cartoon.
It also takes some liberties with the ponies and their hometown. Many ponies can live in Ponyville that, in the show, live somewhere completely different. The Canterlot expansion is more accurate (not counting the ponies that were already added to Ponyville despite being from Canterlot), with only Minuette being somewhat questionable.
Ambidextrous Sprite: Unlike the show, this was averted in the game by using 3D models of the characters, though in a few cases (Fancy Pants for one), the profile picture is contrary to the 3D model. In addition, cutie marks are clearly on both sides.
The trope is played straight for the Apple-Catching Minigame, where the model simply flips if you change direction, which is more noticeable on some ponies like Applejack.
Artificial Stupidity: Any ponies living in the village will not take note of "Nuisance Objects"; thorns, hollow tress, Parasprites, or Changelings, and serve manly to want to make you drain your wallet to remove/kill them.
Each pony uses the same exact model skeleton model (resized appropriately), and thus all are capable of doing the same actions/dances. Each of the mane-six (and a few others) have their own actions exclusive only to them.
The default "example" town owned by Princess Celestia does not send the player back hearts if the player gifts her or drops a chest in her village.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can choose to spend real money on in-game purchases for more bits and gems. This does not help you get heart crystals, and trust us, the game does it's best to make you want to keep spending money.
Cap: Each variety of Elemental Shards caps out at 999, a cap that's easy to reach granted you don't waste them dealing with Parasprites/Changelings with all the shards except Shards of Magic.
They can also be exchanged for coins on activated Harmony Stones. Exchanging one hundred shards at once can even reward you a gem.
Clone Degeneration: The Changelings that invade Canterlot as a form of any of the mane-six; they are easier to tell apart to their real counterparts because they don't socialize with other ponies and usually spend all their time in shadowy areas of the town.
On some devices, they even only show up as Twilight, which makes them even easier to spot.
Dark Is Evil: Let's see: Ponies scared to build stuff in the dark (but are entirely fine with walking through them)? Check. Thorns and hollow trees counted as Nuisance Objects? Check. Shadowbolts in the flying game trying to take you down? Check. The game wanting you to kill every Changeling that appears in Canterlot? Check.
Department of Redundancy Department: If you count the number of times the game would say "Play" between clicking on a home to start training a specific pony, twice on the "Ready to Play" screen, once on the instruction screen, and once on the bonus multiplier selector.
There are even instances when you get two buttons to exit the same screen (in addition to always being able to do so with the Return button on your smartphone).
Expansion Pack: The Royal Wedding update allows players to travel to and from Canterlot once they reach level 15, and Canterlot features its own set of ponies, shops, decor, and quests that mirror the Canterlot Wedding. You even "battle" the Changelings.
Flock of Wolves: Can happen in Canterlot if players don't clear out the Changelings; in time, players may find Canterlot full of Twilight Sparkles.
Follow the Leader: As per many of Gameloft titles, this game is attempting to cash in on the success of both The Smurfs Village and The Simpsons Tapped Out, but unlike those games, this title makes the whole "we want your money" part much more obvious.
Game-Breaking Bug: The game is known to randomly crash horribly on the first-generation iPad (however, it does crash on occasion on just about any iOS device). Once the said crash happens on a first-gen iPad, the game is never starting again on the device unless it's reinstalled. Thing is, if you reinstall, you lose everything you've done to this point and have to start over. Woe betide you if you've actually paid money for gems in the game.
A different crash related bug that seems to be non-device specific; when purchasing a pony, the game can crash before being able to place their house on the map. Should this this happen, the pony will still be removed from the store making it impossible to ever acquire them. If the pony is required to complete a checklist task (such as one of the mane-six), it becomes impossible to ever progress any further in the game.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the show, all the mane 6 except Rainbow Dash and the Cakes live where they work. In this game, that's not possible because their respective places of work are only considered houses.
Many of the ponies you can buy don't even normally live in Ponyville or Canterlot.
The Wonderbolts Academy looks nothing like in the show. Instead of its normal mountaintop location, it's located on a cloud.
Hitbox Dissonance: The hitboxes for Parasprites are much bigger than the swarm itself. Which can be an issue when you're trying to move or clear objects around them, especially when they are the color of a crystal you are trying to stockpile so you can activate one of the Elemental Stones.
Level Grinding: Some of the ponies are very easy to rank up, whilst some of them will take forever (Different EXP gain on top of cool down times). Ponies like Shining Armor will take a good few weeks unless you tweak with the clock setting.
Luck-Based Mission: Most of the minigames, although you can't really fail any of them. Ball Bounce is the only exception though figuring out a good pattern without a guide is tricky.
Every quest objective that requires you to collect Element Shards. While each shop is more likely to produce one type of shard than the others, you wouldn't know that without a guide, and even then it remains a gamble.
Obvious Beta: At first, given the bugs, unbalanced gameplay and crashing. Alleviated for the most part with its first update.
One-Hour Work Week: You can assign each pony you control to work in a particular shop, but this doesn't stop them from spending all of their time wandering around the map and having impromptu dance parties whenever they meet each other.
If you think about it, they never spend any time in their respective workplace. At all. Maybe they cloned themselves so that they can play while their clone have to toil away 24/7...
Palette Swap: The two currently available seasonal ponies, Lovestruck and Forsythia, are obvious recolors of both Twilight and Rarity respectively, with different cutie marks to boot. And let us not forget this is an officially licensed product, or that the former requires 600 gems to purchase.
The Power of Friendship: As in the cartoon, the ultimate win condition over Nightmare Moon is to recover and activate all six Elements of Harmony, have all the mane 6, and finish all the quests. More importantly, you can make friends with other players of the game and send them gifts, which is the main way of getting heart crystals.
Sequence Breaking: It's possible to unlock most ponies before the story quests ask you to do so. The only limitation is your level (and if the pony costs hearts or gems, not even that). Same goes for stores.
Socialization Bonus - There's a whole currency (Heart Crystals) based around this. You can receive a Heart Crystal if someone in your friends list sends you a treasure chest and/or a gift. However, each of those can only be done once a day, per user, so if you have many Gameloft friends, just sit back and watch the hearts roll in.
Two of the four ponies who showed up in The Cutie Pox bearing a resemblance to characters from The Big Lebowski now bear names similar to their human counterparts, and a third one (the one resembling Walter Sobchak) is simply referred to as "Bowling Pony" in gameplay but gets named Walter in the code.
Derpy Hooves shows up (unnamed in-game) hiding inside a cardboard box. One of the missions that requires you to find her is called "Everyone's Favorite".
One of the idle animations has your ponies rear up and dance Gangnam Style.
Unexpected Character: Fan favorite background ponies like Lyra Heartstrings, Octavia, and Time Turner being playable are no surprise, but several bronies were surprised to see some of the The Big Lebowski ponies from "The Cutie Pox", particularly Jesús Pezuña, being present.
Given the issues raised with Derpy, her appearance wasn't exactly certain, but the developers found a way to sneak her in anyway without ever having to reference her name directly or change the things fans love about her.
With This Herring: Nightmare Moon must be defeated! Twilight starts off with... Spike, her library, and enough resources to build a windmill. First pony to come and help her? Bon Bon.