Unpleasant Horse is anything but unpleasant

If you had 24 hours to come up with a game idea, design it, program it, and make it both playable and fun, what kind of game would you come up with? Recently PopCap challenged its designers to do just that as a contest to promote creativity. The winning entry, Unpleasant Horse, is now available for the public to judge. Depending on your sense of humour, you may not like what you see. However, for those who don’t mind a little bit of morbid fun, Unpleasant Horse is anything but unpleasant.

As the title implies, you are the Unpleasant Horse, a black horse with red eyes, wings and skulls on your rump. You flit from cloud to cloud, crushing everyone and everything along your path. You can crash into cute little birdies (which grant you the ability to perform a mid-air jump), but the best thing to do is take out those obnoxious Pritty Ponies™.

Those Pritty Ponies™ fly around, all happy and joyful. It’s up to you to land on their backs and force them into the meat grinders below. The longer you stay on them, the more points you earn. But be careful not to stay on too long or miss a jump – otherwise it’ll be your turn to be hamburger.

Unpleasant Horse

Unpleasant Horse isn’t scored by distance, but rather how many objects you land on or combos you create by landing on similar objects. You also have a bit of a wild card scoring item with style points. For instance, you can leap backwards off a cloud to land on a Pritty Pony™, which nets you more points for style.

As you can probably bet, you’ll only enjoy Unpleasant Horse if you’re okay with a healthily morbid sense of humor. The sad look on the pony’s face as you force it to the spinning blades of death below is only slightly less funny than the sound effect combination of buzz-saw mixed with whinny. The red spatter and flying horseshoes that fly out of the grinders adds to this gruesome scene.

There’s nothing extreme in Unpleasant Horse, mind you. It’s obviously tongue-in-cheek. This is made even more obvious by the use of Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz while you cause mayhem and carnage (contrasted from the heavy metal distorted guitar of the title screen).

It’s gory, it’s fun, but it’s all too short. There’s only the single mode with local leaderboards. There are no achievements, unlockables, or other modes and obstacles to get. It’s about as old-school arcade as it gets.

However, the admission fee of nothing really helps to dull the pain of the lack of content in Unpleasant Horse. Taken as a single experience, it’s nice to finally see something seriously edgy in the iOS ecosystem. In fact, the game had to be re-evaluated because of its content.

Unpleasant Horse ends up being little more than a curiosity. It is also addictive, silly and fun as long as you have the stomach for it. What it also is trying to push out – independent creativity within a large company – is also worth supporting. Who knows what they can do in 48 hours instead of 24?