If you recognise the name PlayWay it is because PlayWay publishes most of the [Noun] Simulator games, often but not always involving being a mechanic of some kind. Today, though, I'm excited to tell you that with their next game, developed by PlayWay subsidiary Games Incubator, they're branching out into the long-neglected magical horsegirl genre with My Horse: Bonded Spirits.
The trailer does a lot of my talking for me, doesn't it? You play the heiress to a stud farm (insert your own jokes, and whatever else you want to insert) which has apparently fallen into some disrepair. As well as fixing it it up, which includes the job of managing the staff and horses, you have to build a bond with the animals. I am told that a better bond with your horse means you do better in competitions. The trailer demonstrated putting a dressage saddle on one of said quadrupeds, and showjumping.
Bonding with your horse appears to be a case of doing the woah hand thing that Owen Dinosaurs does in the terrible new Jurassic World films, and then putting your forehead on the horse's face. Just like real life! This is exciting because it seems to be exactly like the horse sim games like Barbie Horse Adventure and Horse Life and My Horse And Me that were unleashed in a herd, if you will, circa. 2007.
It looks like you have to do less glamorous things like mucking out the stables as well, although how much graphical realism is deployed on horse shit in Bonded Spirits is as yet unconfirmed. Your stud farm (hurhurhur - although the press release does continaully make the distinction "horse and stud" so maybe I shouldn't be laughing; perhaps your farm comes with a secret basement...) is set in an open world of sunlit fields etc., called Chestnut Glen, around which you can gallop with abandon. VidBud Liam commented that he really likes all the motionblur in the game, because his brain is conditioned to read excessive motion blur as a shitpost.
No release date for My Horse: Bonded Spirits beyond a non-specific 2024, but you can wishlist on Steam - which, to be clear, I will be doing. The trend of pet sim games where an animal stands still while you brush it is one I would like to see come back into fashion, and this is an opening shot. They were so popular when I was a teen that they almost ran out of animals. There was a dolphin one, for God's sake. Horsegirls of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your reins!