Sometimes, you come across a game you are immediately fascinated by. When I first heard about Pony Island on a videogame podcast I listen to, I knew I had to get it. It’s a bizarre mixture of different styles of gameplay and tells a grotesque story at the same time. While it only takes two hours to complete, it stays with you for quite some time.
Pony Island is a puzzle game at heart. It doesn’t give that away right at the start though, since it’s also emulating an arcade game in which you control a pony and have to jump over obstacles and shoot enemies out of the sky. Behind the simplistic façade hides a deep and compelling story paired with some really impressive logic puzzles. In these puzzles, you mostly deal with program logic, which only fits, since you’re hacking an arcade game designed by Satan in order to steal your soul.
This hacking actually feels like you’re sometimes breaking the game, which makes it feel like you’re actually doing something forbidden. However, it’s the only way to progress in the game and also the only way you can fend off Satan. While a trapped soul is trying to help you, you make your way through various versions and iterations of the arcade game until your soul is finally free.
I don’t want to give away too much about the story, but it’s blissfully vague but written in a funny and engrossing way. At times, the gameplay can get in the way, with some challenges being quite hard the first time around, but these segments never overstay their welcome. Overall, the game is short and sweet and it comes highly recommended.
You can get the game over on Steam for 4,99€