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One bright, optimistic morning, you awake to find that someone’s stored a potion in your computer. Hazily, you withdraw the useful item, recalling last night’s dream: A professor, although slightly confused by the complexities of gender, had welcomed you to a new world. On this morning, after ten long years of isolation, you’re finally ready to conquer the dangerous grass outside your front stoop and see the world. And, just when you think today couldn’t get any better: you crack open your first red-and-white ball and a wide-eyed filly stares back at you.
If at this point, you’re not yet overcome by nostalgia and anticipation, you’ll want to go read another review, or grow a childhood and come back later.
All on the same page? Good. Well, is Ponymon Dawn/Dusk worth your time, or is raising and battling your own team of Equestrians just another pipe dream? Perhaps you should find out after the break.
Honestly, there’s no way you can really go wrong hacking Pokémon ROMs and ponifying them. That’s exactly what the lead developer, Flutteryay, has done with Pokémon Fire Red/Leaf Green. However, the degree of modification is certainly very impressive. Each one of the mane 6 is available as a starter (Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle in Ponymon Dawn, Fluttershy, Rarity and Applejack in Dusk.) The old type-trump system has been scrapped, replaced by more Equestrian elements such as chaos, honesty, and passion. Much of the NPC dialogue is tailored, with varying degrees of neatness, to fit the new storyline.
Additionally, the game boasts an impressive, though far from finished, 151-slot Ponydex, complete with filly, gala, and nightmare night versions of most Ponymon. Each has its own custom set of moves, strengths, and weaknesses. As in Pokémon, as you progress through the game, you’ll come across varying ponies in their filly forms hiding in the tall grass. Some are relatively rare, meaning that after you complete the demo you’ll still need to go back and hunt for them (Filly Derpy, I’m looking at you.)
Finally! Ok, play it cool... *SAVE STATE SAVE STATE SAVE STATE*
This project has enormous potential—although it’s still in its early stages. The Ponydex is currently woefully devoid of detail, and most Ponymon have yet to be added. Many ponies’ moves and statistics are unbalanced, making it less useful to train a varied team and limiting possible battle strategies. Unfortunately, the demo only currently reaches Mount Moon, making it difficult to train your charges past level 20.
However, potential Ponymon champions need not despair! The game is still in alpha 0.2, and the developers are working hard to fix bugs, increase play time, and give it the polish that it deserves. Their progress can be monitored from the game’s budding wiki. Even its early stages, Ponymon Dawn/Dusk is definitely a must-play for fans of the series.
Author's note: Guest-authored by Arctic Lux – I’m a first-timer here at EQG, but you might see some more of me in the coming months. If you’ve somehow got a strong opinion on me already, I’m sure Enigma would love to hear it.