Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Gameplay Impressions | Horse Girl Racing Game

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Gameplay

Have you been keeping an eye out for some pretty good games that are coming our way soon? You know, things like Punishing: Gray Raven, Nier Reincarnation, Lost Ark… That’s right, Lost Ark is expected to drop this year in North America and Europe, so we’ll finally get some closure and a damn good MMORPG as well. But I’ll leave that for another time; today I want to share my views on one of the biggest oddities that I’ve ever seen in all my years of gaming: Uma Musume: Pretty Derby. After battleship girls and the like, I thought I’d seen it all, but it’s live and learn, I guess. Perhaps you already heard of this horse racing game… but horses are girls this time.  Yep, yep… I’m at a loss for words.

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I decided to further inspect Cygames’ Uma Musume: Pretty Derby because it sounds like the kind of game that could stir up a nice little controversy – in fact, the producers have requested fans to stop messing around with the looks of the so-called horses, so you get the idea. The characters were inspired by real racehorses, which probably means that any experts of the sport may identify them in the game by some stances and behaviors.

I bet that got your brain whirring, right? Girls with horse ears and tail running around a racetrack… That doesn’t sound like material for a few online rants at all. Personally, I’m good with it because it’s a game and we’ve seen some weirder stuff coming from Japan, after all. But I can see some people getting upset with it, because it’s like a hip thing nowadays.

Anyway, let’s continue. Uma Musume: Pretty Derby was released earlier this year in Japan for Android, iOS, and PC, and there’s a related anime as well, which is probably why the excitement ramped up for the game. I don’t think that a global release is likely, but I wouldn’t dismiss it entirely, so fingers crossed if you like horse girl racing. Yeah, that sounded weird.

One of the reasons why I’ve decided to try this game is because it is a big hit. Scratch that, a MASSIVE hit. It is already ranking as the third top mobile game worldwide, overthrowing juggernauts like Genshin Impact, and you know well enough how that game is performing.

What’s so special about it, apart from the implausible concept? Well, I can’t get into much detail because my Japanese is a bit rusty, but it seems like it has all the mechanics that you would expect from a management RPG. You train and level up your horses… er, girls… well, you know what I mean… hang out with them, and when race day comes, you watch a pretty good and nail-biting anime cinematic to see who crosses the finish line first. I like how they hide the standings during the final stretch of the race so that you must rely on visuals alone to understand how it’s going to be. After the race everyone gathers on stage to perform some catchy J-pop tunes, for some reason… What this means is that they’re not just anthropomorphic girls, they’re idols as well. Still, it’s cool to watch.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Uma Musume: Pretty Derby releasing in English since this is a good-looking, compelling, out-of-the-box game. Production values are high, it isn’t a rushed project made to grab a quick buck from players who are clearly overly excited by the subject matter. I’d like to see how the PvP part plays out, and my limited experience with it was enough to believe that it can be as much fun as any other popular gacha game, so give it a try if your Japanese is up to scratch.

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