What do you get when you cross adorable ponies with a slasher flick? Why My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Story of the Blanks of course! This fan-made title stars young Apple Bloom who comes across a cursed village after she gets separated from Twilight Sparkle. With its retro graphics and unique adventure-turned-horror storyline, this game is certainly not your average pony ""tale"".
Just like any energetic young filly, Apple Bloom begins the story by searching for some excitement in town. Everyone is busy, but the hustle and bustle is a familiar one and she grows bored by the second. Fortunately, she comes across Twilight Sparkle who is running an errand for Zecora. Convincing the unicorn to let her tag along, the two head out of town to deliver the book of herbs. Zecora thanks them for the delivery but advises them to head back to Ponyville as fast as they can. Puzzled, the two head home, but are stalled by a tree blocking the way. As Twilight Sparkle gets to work clearing their path, Apple Bloom spots another filly just watching them from a distance. The young protagonist lets curiosity get the best of her and follows said filly and finds herself in a town in the middle of eerie Everfree forest. The real adventure begins after when she finds out what the ponies actually are and just why none of them have cutie backs on their rumps.
Aside from not being your typical My Little Pony story, Story of the Blanks is genuinely creepy thanks to its stellar delivery. As they are usually made by a few, if not a single person, many indie titles suffer from subpar graphics. Well, artist/programmer Donitz made sure that the pixel art won't distract from the scares. With muted tones and simple backgrounds, it's not quite AAA level but it works well considering the theme. Deliberate care went into the character portraits as well.
Just like NES games of old, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Story of the Blanks features accessible controls. All you will need to mind are the directional buttons, plus an additional key which allows you to interact with characters and the world around you. Its game play resembles that of old RPGs wherein you are to be immersed in dialogue revealing tidbits of the story, find key items and figure out how to progress events. Most of the game takes place in Sunny Town, a place that won't be found in an episode in the official animated series. That being said, you are given the chance to mingle with many ponies unique to the game. There's Roneo, for instance, who has a crush on somepony. One called Grey Hoof who is an expert at throwing parties and many other ponies who have, oddly, never heard of a cutie mark in their lives.
Thanks to its delivery style and uncanny ability to force you into horrific events that can't be skipped, this pixel horror adventure that would appeal to fans of games such as Corpse Party. We give the game a thumbs up for its pacing too. What starts out as an innocent trek in the woods quickly escalates into something, well, more. As the night grows darker, Apple Bloom gets the chance to piece the puzzle together, learning of the fate of Sunny Town's residents. The question is: do you want to find out for yourself?
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Story of the Blanks is a singular horror experience that features a little of the familiar, more of the new. We appreciated the unexpected twists in the storyline as well as the retro graphics chosen to deliver it. Due to its gutsy take on the beloved friendship-centric series, there's nothing quite like Story of the Blanks. If anything, that should be enough of a reason for true blue fans to give it a try. It doesn't really take that long to finish and there's not much replay value to the main storyline but we were entertained nonetheless.
Additionally, there is a level editor accessible through the SWF version of Story of the Blanks. It adds a little bit of replay value that bronies would certainly appreciate, and for those of you who simply cannot get enough, you can also try General Zois Pony Creator or one of the many other pony creators available at ponycreators.com. The level editor barely makes up for the lack of replay value but it's, at least, something. Don't worry, you don't need to be knowledgeable about all things pony to understand what's happening in Story of the Blanks. Being open to creepypasta titles is enough. On a side note, this game is not suitable for kids. There are a few scenes in the game that might just leave young pony fans scarred for life. Not sold on the idea that an 8-bit game can give you goose bumps? Oh, you'll see.
'Machinarium pushes the boundaries when it comes to what we know about traditional point and click titles. First, it has no dialogue save for a few text tidbits at the start. Its puzzles are confined to a single screen, and it's not afraid to lend a hand when needed. It's different, and it's infinitely more interesting because of it. To sum it up, Machinarium is one of those rare games that brilliantly executes radical ideas.'