Today’s review is for Horse Academy from Smart Games.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary game for review from Timberdoodle. All views expressed are my own.
Like other Smart Games, Horse Academy is a single-player puzzle game. This one focuses on spatial insight, planning, problem-solving, concentration, and visual perception. It is recommended for ages 7 to adult.
Horse Academy includes the game board, an exit gate, a horse with rider playing piece, 10 puzzle pieces with obstacles and paths, a challenge booklet, and a sheet of award ribbon stickers.
How to Play
Challenge 1 in the booklet is at the Starter level and is super simple, just to give the player an idea of how it works. Go from starting point Y to exit gate X, and include jump F in your path. Ta-da!
There are a total of 80 progressively harder challenges in the book, most with multiple jumps. Also, the starting point and exit gate can move around, so you have to make sure those are in the right place before you start the challenge.
The horse playing-piece serves as a visual cue that you can set on the table at the starting point. Once you’ve arranged the path on the board, you can hop the horse along from start to finish. I can see where kids would like that feature, and that’s what gives it the horse theme. Just a little fun touch, even though it’s not really necessary.
To add an extra element of challenge to the game you can time yourself and keep a record of how long it takes you to complete each challenge. The award ribbon stickers are color-coded to match the levels and include a URL where you can download and print time sheets.
I even found some colored pens that coordinated, just because I’m geeky that way.
Rebecca enjoyed timing herself and comparing the difficulty of various levels, based on how long it took her to figure them out. Once she had the starting point in the wrong spot which threw the whole thing off.
While bulkier than some, Horse Academy is still a great game to take along on a road trip or family camping weekend. I love how it is appropriate for a wide range of ages. The horse piece and the colored jumps give it kid appeal, but the puzzles will challenge your thinking skills regardless of your age or education level.
Rebecca loves for me to include a Smart Game on her daily study schedule, to give her a break from reading and writing. One challenge only takes a few minutes and I appreciate that it’s off-screen.
If you’re intrigued by single-player thinking games check out these other Smart Games I’ve reviewed: