Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure might just be the greatest thing a five year old has ever done
As a parent, I love it when one of my kids takes an interest in my work. Sometimes I’ll ask them to play a game I’m reviewing and let me know what they think. It’s just a great experience all around. So when Untold Entertainment’s Ryan Creighton dropped me a line to let me know he’d developed a game with his 5 year old daughter Cassie, I just knew it was going to be something special.
Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure is the end result of a three day collaboration between Ryan and his daughter at the Toronto Independent Game Jam earlier this year. I won’t go on and on with all the details of how this unfolded, but if you’re interested, Ryan has written a great little article about the experience which you can find here.
A point-and-click adventure at its core, Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure tells the story of a little girl who loves ponycorns. What’s a ponycorn, you might ask? “They’re the best thing in the world, because they’re like ponies AND unicorns!” Well said Sissy. You must know a lot about ponycorns. “I friggin’ love ponycorns!!” You sure do Sissy. You sure do.
Sissy travels through rainbows to visit exciting new places. Her quest, given to her by the mysterious mumbling Orange Boy, is to gather five ponycorns and put them into jars. In her travels she’ll meet a variety of colourful (or should that be crayonful?) characters like Mr. Turtle, a tiger, and the evil lemon. It’s a story that only a five year old could tell – and it has a presentation to match.
While dad Ryan handled all of the un-fun parts of game design, like coding and developing an adventure game engine, Cassie tackled the good stuff – art, sound, and (we assume) story. She even contributed to the puzzles a bit. While this means the game might lack that certain “challenge” that adventure gamers are looking for, it certainly makes up for it in charm. The art in the game is literally the crayon drawings of a five year old, scanned into the game and brought to life. Cassie and Ryan provide full voice work for all of the characters in the game too. It’s just oozing with cuteness. In all of my time as a gamer, I can honestly say I’ve never played something as endearingly adorable as Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure.
The flipside to all of this, though, is that it’s not really a game. Sure it’s point’n’click, but this is more of an interactive storybook than an adventure. You’ll have the whole thing wrapped up in under 10 minutes, and the only real replay value here is in showing it to all of your friends – which, we promise, you will. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure gets a whole-hearted recommendation from us because of what it is, but if you’re going into this thinking it’s a fleshed-out game of any kind, you need to know that it’s not.
Given the great story behind Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, it only seemed fitting that this review closed with some words written in the same spirit as Ryan and Cassie’s TOJam adventure. And so, without further ado, I give you the first published review of my daughter Julia Squires, age 6;
“I loved it very much. I really loved the pink ponycorn and the purple one. It was very funny when she threw the coconut at the lemon. The tiger was very cute and his voice was low and funny. I hope they make another game called Sissy’s Magical Kittypup Adventure.”
Well said, Julia. Well said.