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My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery screenshot

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery review

I’ve spent most of my time playing My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery being utterly envious of a cartoon pony’s hair. It flicks and curls in all the right places. It’s beautiful. It’s hair that I, as a real-life human being, will never be able to achieve. And, in its obsession with style and material things, I’m pretty sure it’s exactly how My Little Pony wants me to feel, too.

Dressing up your ponies is part of the fun here, and you’ll frequently see the equine residents of Zephyr Heights preening themselves, buying new clothes or otherwise obsessing over how they look. I’m not sure it’s the best message to be relaying onto kids, to be honest. But in a world this colourful, beautiful and idyllic, I think I too would always want to look my absolute best.

But I’ve gone off piste here. My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights mystery isn’t actually just about dressing up ponies (although you can, and probably should, do that if you want). There is indeed a mystery afoot, and playing as a cast of ponies, it’s up to you to get to the bottom of it. A series of strange vortexes have opened up around Zephyr Heights, causing all kinds of chaos, and it’s up to you to close them. Along the way, you’ll be traversing various environments, helping other ponies with their pressing issues (delivering smoothies, or finding new sunglasses, amongst other major dilemmas) and growing your team of ponies from two to six, all with their own skills and abilities.

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery screenshot
Image: Outright Games

Sunny, for example — the pony with the glorious hair — can not only rollerskate, but also glide and turn unassuming flowers into bouncy trampolines. Hitch, on the other hand, can charge into boxes and gates in order to find collectibles and open up new areas. He can also use his detective skills which come in handy when you’re tracking down an object for a particular mission. The remaining four ponies are unlocked piecemeal as you play, each with special abilities of their own — you’ll need to return to earlier levels to make use of their skills once they’re in your party.

Related: The best games for kids on PS5

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery can’t quite decide if it’s a level-based platformer or if it’s open world. Somewhere in the middle, I’d suppose. After you’ve finished a few levels, you’ll unlock a map which will allow you to fast travel back to previous areas, each with plenty of space to be explored, currency to be picked up and side quests to be completed. The freedom to come and go as you please is very welcome, at least, but it means there’s never a huge focus on what you should be doing.

That’s probably not the worst thing, though. Targeted to younger children and having played games with five-to-seven year olds many times, staying on track is not a strong point. And so, the freedom that A Zephyr Heights Mystery gives is something that I’ve no doubt will be appreciated and embraced by its core player base. And if you do wonder where you should be heading? Simply press the triangle button and a butterfly will guide you in the right direction. Cute.

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery screenshot
Hair goals. Image: Outright Games

There’s a smattering of minigames thrown into My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery. Every so often you’ll get to enjoy an endless runner level, or partake in a simple rhythm game. Minigames are accessible directly from the main menu, too, offering a good way for co-op players to jump in for a short burst of entertainment. Happily, the full game can be enjoyed in local co-op too, which will be a great option for siblings or friends who like to play together.

The story here is nicely presented, and A Zephyr Heights Mystery’s animated cutscenes are pleasant to watch thanks to their colourful and cute visuals. The ponies are well voiced, and everything feels nicely put together — somewhat uncommon in games made for children. But despite there being a pressing narrative issue afoot, your ponies are far too concerned about decorating their house, helping their friends find fashion accessories and generally, well, horsing around.

But that’s videogames for you. Link would rather mess around with a chicken even though Princess Zelda is in grave danger. And Mario would rather make sure he’s picked up 100 coins than save Peach from the deadly clutches of Bowser. I’m being a little too harsh for chastising these ponies for having their fun, too. And running around Zephyr Heights is fun: developer Drakhar Studios has created an attractive playground, filled with stuff to do, characters to help and plenty of things to collect. And you just know the day’s going to be saved in the end. I’m not sure what more I could want, really.

This review of My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery is based on the PS5 version of the game, with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery review - GameSpew's score

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery
8 10 0 1
Fun, colourful and surprisingly well-presented, there's a lot to like about My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery. Not focusing on the task at hand can be a little frustrating, but when horsing around is so enjoyable, it's hard to be too incensed.
Fun, colourful and surprisingly well-presented, there's a lot to like about My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery. Not focusing on the task at hand can be a little frustrating, but when horsing around is so enjoyable, it's hard to be too incensed.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Great animation and voice acting
  • Fun and colourful world to explore
  • Plenty to do

We don't like...

  • A lack of focus

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