Video Game: My Little Pony aka: My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic
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, Android, and Windows 8.This game plays similarly to The Smurfs Village and The Simpsons: Tapped Out, 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 visit Sweet Apple Acres, a location known for apple products, in a game that can be played on iOS devices.
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, buildings, and decorations 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 (some only available in the Balloon Pop minigame, which rarely gives out ponies on the Gold Tier level, which costs 10 gems per playnote formely 25 gems), nor is it counting that some of the shops or items you'll need to complete the quests require payment in gemsnote 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! There are two unskippable missions near the end that require you to purchase two ponies and one building. Prior to the June 2013 update, the ponies (Shining Armor and Princess Cadance) were 650 apiece, and the building (the Town Hall) was 600. In total that's 1,900 gems!
The Christmas update thankfully amended the issue for the most part. Now, by watching a few minutes worth of ads via the "Pony Theater", 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.
The Christmas update in 2013 again amended gem prices; Princess Celestia has been reduced to 500 gems and other ponies have had their prices cut up to half of their original price. In addition, the Equestria Girls minigame has had the score difficulty lowered drastically, allowing players to earn certain ponies through gameplay instead of spending gems or hearts.
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 Pony" mission. They can also be obtained by choosing to share the level up and quest completion messages. Not that the game ever tells you this. However, it does tell you that you can share your score on the dancing game and get a heart.
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.
The August 29, 2013 update added the spa ponies Aloe and Lotus Blossom for Canterlot, despite them only appearing in Ponyville in the show.
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.
Artificial Stupidity: Any ponies living in the village will not take note of clearable objects or swarms: thorns, hollow trees, dead trees, wild rocks, Parasprites, Changelings, and Vampire Fruit Bats, which mostly exist 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, and tall Alicorns (Celestia and Luna) only have one animation when tapped.
Granny Smith's model combines the movement of the Alicorn with the idle animations of any Earth Pony. When she shifts between her Alicorn movement and standard Pony animations, it's very noticable.
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.
The game will occasionally not count decorations from the player's inventory for some missions (such as the large clock tower for Ponyville during the Rainbow Dash quest).
Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: Rainbow Dash in the mine cart minigame (or Spitfire if playing as Rainbow Dash). You still lose the game when it happens, it's really just to show your pony getting rescued from what could otherwise be a fatal accident.
Bragging Rights Reward: Celestia can be this; she periodically generates element shards after being purchased, but at a price of 500 gems (the most expensive pony in the game), most players that opt to earn gems without paying for them (such as finding Derpy, playing the heart crystal Silver-Tier balloon pop game, defeating parasprites & changelings, spending element shards on activated harmony stones, having the game running at midnight for the daily bonuses, playing the Equestria Girls dancing minigame, or leveling up) will likely have all the shards they need long before they can afford her.
Also Luna, who is only unlocked after completing all the Ponyville quests and defeating Nightmare Moon.
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 its best to make you want to keep spending money.
The Cameo: Archer makes an appearance in the Ball Bounce minigame to return the ball when it goes off-screen.
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 bits 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. With the Equestria Girls update and Twilight becoming an alicorn, they're even easier to spot because they still take on unicorn Twilight's form.
Console Cameo: The Android version has a statue of the Android mascot worth 50 gems.
Continuity Nod: All over the place. Appropriate for a game based on a show known for its continuity.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: In the minecart game, the Shadowbolts automatically jump when they approach you, punishing any player whose reflex to seeing an approaching obstacle is to automatically tap to jump instead of seeing what the obstacle is first.
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 and minecart games 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 Android devices).
In the minecart minigame, Rainbow Dash swoops in to save the player after they crash. However, if the player chooses to play the game as Rainbow Dash, Spitfire saves her.
Scootaloo is given a set of magical butterfly wings for the flying minigame just like the unicorns and earth ponies, despite having her own set of wings as a pegasus. This is because in the show, she's too young to fly, so the game considers her to be an Earth pony instead of a Pegasus.
The speed boost animation for Rainbow Dash in the level-up minigame gets replaced by a Sonic Rainboom. You only get 5 chances to see this, though.
Do Well, But Not Perfect: Got a pony that's at maximum level? Hopefully that character doesn't have a quest to play any of the mini-games coming up. Once the level is maxed out, that pony can't play the level-up games anymore.
Fixed in an update: if the pony in question is maxed out, that part of the quest will already be checked off/completed.
Expansion Pack: The Royal Wedding update allows players to travel to and from Canterlot once they reach level 15 - later changed to 10, and Canterlot features its own set of ponies, shops, decor, and quests that mirror the Canterlot Wedding. You even "battle" the Changelings.
The "Sweet Apple Acres" update allows you to visit even more parts of Equestria, including Sweet Apple Acres, Cloudsdale, Manehattan, The Everfree Forest, and Appleloosa, just to name a few.
Face Plant: Happens almost constantly to Derpy whenever she's present.
Fan Nickname: The game is often called "My Little Pony Gameloft Game" to distinguish it from the franchise.
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 or some of the other Mane 6.
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.
The game has also developed a nasty habit of randomly losing track of the player's progress. This can be especially frustrating when you've worked all week to level up or collect items for a quest grind, only to have it all be for nothing when the game sets you right back where you started at.
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.
As of the Hearts and Hooves Day 2014 update you can unlock Daring Do in Ponyville and A.K. Yearling in Canterlot. For those unaware, they're the same pony.
Both Parasprites and Changelings are fought with shards representing the Elements of Harmony in the game. In the show, the elements were never used against either of those creatures.
Guide Dang It: The minecart minigame. How in Equestria are you suppose to get past those barrels plonked straight in your path when there's a piece of track above you? You jump straight through the piece of track! The games hints nowhere that you can do this.
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.
Killed Off for Real: What seems to happen to Queen Chrysalis (and her entire army) once you beat the "Canterlot Wedding" event—rather than being sent flying across the horizon, they appear to be vaporized by the Elements of Harmony. Rainbow Dash's line about "getting rid of these Changelings once and for all" once you have all the Element shards necessary to do so doesn't bode well for the Changelings, either.
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 or use score modifiers.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Not only does the game have all the primary and secondary characters from the show, but practically every background pony you can think of is available as well.
Lost Forever: To a certain degree. Once a pony reaches it's maximum star ranking (5 stars) it can never be used to play any of the games that would grant that pony experience. If there is a certain prize that requires you to play either the Ball Bouncing, Apple Catching, or Star-Connecting mini games but with almost your entire town consisting of 5-stared ponies, you simply cannot complete the objective in time and win the prize.
Lucky Seven: Lucky Clover, one of the extra ponies, costs 77,777 bits in the shop, and is unlocked when the player reaches level 7.
Most of the minigames, although you can't really fail any of them, just score badly and receive little to no experience for your Pony. The Ball Bouncing game was this until a more recent update which fixed up the game to make it much more refined.
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.
There's three quests that require you to find Derpy. Her spawn rate is incredibly low, and her box model easily blends in with the background, making her harder to spot. That, and the fact that you have to constantly survey the entire map multiple times, as she commonly spawns on non-expanded areas.
Minecart Madness: An update on March 25, 2014 includes a new minigame that's basically this.
Moveset Clone: Every single pony. The only ponies with unique animations on the map are the Mane 6.
Nerf: Most of the prices had this done to them in the Movie Time update. That and the addition of the minecart mini-game, which makes grinding bits and shards a lot easier.
Also done to the songs in Equestria Girls dancing minigame in the Sweet Apple Acres update, mostly for the worse. On the one hand, it got rid of or replaced most of the orange horseshoe note sets, which required rapid tapping and tended to break combos. On the other hand, a lot of the notes were removed, which means less points gained per song and makes winning the prizes take that much longer.
Obvious Beta: At first, given the bugs, unbalanced gameplay and crashing. Alleviated for the most part with its first update.
The new version of DJ Pon-3 added to Canterlot in the August 29, 2013 update is based on her San Diego Comic-Con 2013 adult collectible; she has blue legs, glitter in her mane & tail, and her sunglasses have diamond-studded frames. Even more perplexing is that her normal version is still in the game, living in Ponyville. The new version also has to be leveled up separately, at it does not inherit or share the stats of the Ponyville version.
Prior to the Hearth's Warming Eve 2013 update, Flash Sentry was missing his wings, and his in-game model had black slits on his body for where his wings should be.
For Lightning Dust's model, whenever she blinks, her eyes suddenly transform into a different pony's eyes, and the pigmentation around them will change from light green to orange! It's only for a brief second, and tapping on her to make her dance will give her normal closed eyes, but it's still noteworthy.
Similarly, Sweetie Belle's eyelids get darker whenever she closes her eyes.
Many of the game's newer ponies have mugshots that are larger than the mugshots of ponies introduced when the game was first launched. Just about every pony introduced in the Sweet Apple Acres update is affected by this, and in some cases, the mugshots are not even lined up properly with the horseshoe frame, such as Granny Smith's.
Twilight remains a unicorn in the minecart game even after you've ascended her to alicorn.
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 clones have to toil away 24/7...
Only Known by Their Nickname: Derpy Hooves is called "the pony in the box" on in-game Flavor Texts. The descriptions of the missions that require you to find her refer to her has different nicknames as well.
Painful Rhyme: Invoked. When the mine opens, Twilight will say "Of course, we'd love to help! Ponyville's got the best mine in the whole world! If you want bling, we've got your thing! ...That sounded better in my head."
Palette Swap: As in the toyline, Lovestruck and Forsythia are obvious recolors of Twilight Sparkle and Rarity respectively, with different cutie marks to boot.
Spitfire, Soarin, and Fleetfoot of the Wonderbolts use the same sprite with their flight suits being the only parts of them that are the same color.
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.
Before the update, the Royal Guard Pegasus got the butterfly wings along with his own wings. Unlike the other pegasi, he doesn't fly around in his idle animations.
Retcon: When she was first released, Fleur Dis Lee was mistakenly made an alicorn. A future patch updated her in-game model to make her a unicorn, and viewing her profile in the Album reveals that the Alicorn version was a Changeling. However, her image in the shop still shows her as an Alicorn.
Rhythm Game: The Equestria Girls content is this, having the characters dancing to five possible songs, and being able to invite two friends.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: If you want to, you could put that lazy Princess Celestia to grinding flour in the windmill, or Prince Blueblood tending the carrot farm...
Rule of Cute: Oh so much. The ponies you unlock wander around town and socialize with each other in adorable ways.
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.
Since you can access Canterlot quite early on, it's possible to have main characters like Rarity talk and give you quests in Canterlot even though you might not have them yet.
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.
Made easier with the Equestria Girls dancing game. Sharing your score will give you a heart, and if you dance with friends, you'll earn a heart for each.
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.
Title Drop: One of Twilight's lines when she's touched is "Friendship is Magic".
20% More Awesome: Rainbow Dash will sometimes say "Needs to be 20% cooler" if you tap her.
Unexpected Character: Fan favorite background ponies like Lyra Heartstrings, Octavia, and Dr. Hooves 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 Pezuńa, being present.
Given the issues raised with Derpy (aka Ditzy Doo), 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.