Horse Racing Manager is a simulation game that decides to handle what most non-betting Americans consider to be the most boring sport in the world. Its premise is that you are a new manager of a horse training facility who's looking to make some good money. I have to say, what you get is something else entirely. For the majority of the game, you either take direct command of your horse and spend many minutes on each race, or you let the computer simulate the round and watch your entry finish last over and over again.
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Trying to fully equip your area isn't a good idea when you have no money.
Gameplay: Click that button! Now click that other button!When I started playing Horse Racing Manager I expected two things. First, that I would enjoy the management portion and the horce racing itself would be boring. Second, that the game would have some replayability in different areas. Horse Racing Manager didn't fit my expectations at all.
The problem mainly lies in the fact that the game doesn't make you feel like a manager. For most of the game, you're micromanaging every aspect of your complex. You manage everything including each horse's individual schedule, the jockeys picked for every race, the staff under your command, and even the veterinary and shoe care of your horse. You can't even have your horse race consistently unless you take direct command, which I find particularly unsatisfying. I like to watch the games play out in a simulation, but Horse Racing Manager forces you to take control or not watch the action at all.
There is some fun to be had as a gambler, but it's way too boring after a few hours of becoming rich. There's no real way to tell which horse will win, and the odds rarely reflect what will actually happen in a race.
On the plus side, I was unable to find any bugs in Horse Racing Manager. Those who enjoy playing the game can rest assured that their games are safe and there's almost no chance of having the game crash at a crucial moment. It may not make up for the mindless micromanagement, but it's something.
I will give this game kudos on one level, though. The races are pretty fun to control, despite the tedium of having to do so for every race of a 100+ race career. The mechanics are pretty simple. You adjust the speed slider to the level you want your horse to run and give it a switch for a quick boost or hundred. The main trick is to choose the right time to speed up. The average horse can run at a pretty good canter for a long time, but none can keep a gallop going for more than a few minutes. Even the worst horse can win in Horse Racing Manager, if controlled the right way. It's fun to do so, but there's no variety in the races. They all are animated the same way, and the only variables are the opposing horses. Once you've competed a few times and get the hang of it, it becomes boring like most of the rest of the game.
GraphicsThere's really not that much to say about Horse Racing Manager's graphics. Everything is pretty plain overall, and gets the job done. There's no real glitz to any portion of the game, though. You can see your paddock, but it's a static picture with no animation. You can see your jockey, but he's rendered poorly for the resolution the game is played on. You can watch the races, but the track and horses look like something rendered on an old MacOS system. the game's graphics would have been good for 2002, but they aren't so good for today.
Sound: Music and not much else.The sounds of Horse Racing Manager are almost unnoticeable. Aside from a couple sounds that I'm not completely sure I heard, all there is in this game is a jukebox. The selection of music is pretty good and can be turned off (always a plus), but I truly missed the sounds of horses running around on the training field or even a simple neighing when I had my jockey swat the horse for the twentieth time.
ValueAt roughly $35, this is a game I would only recommend for a diehard horse fan. If you can possibly get a real-life experience with horses or even a good slice of pizza, get that over this game. Overall, Horse Racing Manager is a great port of a good game. It is bugless, it is an almost perfect replica of the PC version, it just isn't a game that the average gamer would ever want to play.