My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery Review (PS5)

Every pony's invited

By Paul Hunter

Outright Games is always a popular choice around my family, whether it's the newest PJ Masks, Peppa Pig or their many other popular licensed titles. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to review My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery, the follow-up to 2022's delightfully fun My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure.

Having played through the first My Little Pony game, what immediately stands out about A Zephyr Heights Mystery is how it's bigger and better in virtually every way. The graphics are a tad crisper and more colourful, the entire "Mane 6" pony protagonists are all now playable, it's a lengthy five-hour campaign (vs. the original's two), and best of all, the entire story can be enjoyed with two-player couch co-op. This is a sequel done right!

The latest My Little Pony adventure takes us once again to Equestria, the main setting for the franchise where the Unicorns, Pegasi and Earth Ponies all reside. Unlike the Maretime Bay backdrop of the first game, this time we get to visit Zephyr Heights, the Equestrian kingdom home to the Pegasi. The city is huge and quite lively with numerous areas to visit like the downtown main square, the mall, the lavish theatre and the huge Royal Palace where the royal family lives and rules.

As the story goes, Sunny, Hitch and the rest of the Mane 6 are all out for a nice stroll in Zephyr Heights when suddenly Sunny's friends start disappearing because of unstable magic that's causing mayhem all across the city. Gravity has gone haywire, weird anomalies are everywhere and citizens have gone missing. What's a heroic pony to do in a situation like this? Find her friends and unravel the mystery of these strange occurrences, naturally!

Just like the first game, you play as Sunny Starscout, a female Earth Pony who's always optimistic and loves helping other ponies out. She's got the ability to spread her wings and glide, put on a pair of rollerskates for faster travel and use her Earth Pony magic to create bouncy plants. You'll use these mechanics to make your way through each area, which each have a heavy focus on platforming to gather various items or help the pony citizens out.

Where this game diverges from the previous game though, is how one by one you'll find Sunny's friends, including Hitch, Izzy, Pipp, Zipp and Misty, who all then become playable characters. Each pony has their own unique skills, like Hitch who can break boxes with his head or Zipp who uses air currents to reach new heights. These skills allow you to overcome new challenges and make it further into the game.

The platforming in My Little Pony is simple and easy to grasp, which comes as no surprise given this is a family title ideal for young kids. You'll bounce on flowers, glide through the air, break barriers and repair platforms as you make your way from Zephyr Heights' main square all the way to its stunning royal palace.

The entire story can be played with two-player co-op, and as you might expect this is the best way to enjoy this game. It's fun to help your pony pal out as you solve simple puzzles together and gather items to progress your missions. This game is highly accessible, with clear objectives and a helpful camera that pans over to show you where the next collectible or destination is. It's also great how the game will automatically switch ponies for you should you click on an interactive object with the wrong pony. And don't worry about getting lost, at any time you can press the triangle button to call upon a butterfly that guides you to the next objective.

The Mini-games are back in this sequel and they're just as fun as they were the first time around. All games can be played with two-player co-op, including the Rollerblade Chase, Zipp's Flight Academy, Hitch's Bunny Herding and the Pipp Pipp Dance Parade. Mini-games are a snap to learn where it's Dance Parade where you tap buttons to the music's rhythm or Bunny Herding where you need to shepherd bunnies out of their pen. It's all very intuitive and a blast to play with your kids.

A Zephyr Heights features a few elements to extend the gameplay, with the Platinum trophy taking about eight hours in total to achieve. For instance, each main area has some pony citizens you need to help out, and in exchange, you'll grow your relationship with them. Get friendly enough with a particular NPC and they might give you an Emoji that you can use when chatting with other NPCs or to use just for fun.

Another side activity is visiting the clothing shop where you can buy glasses or neck apparel (ties, bandanas, etc.) to accessorize your ponies. These items are cosmetic-only and don't affect the gameplay in any way, so you can freely swap out your style whenever you like. Items are bought using star bits found everywhere across the city and I always had enough to buy whatever I wanted, meaning no grinding is require to get that next cool look.

One final side activity is visiting the furniture shop to buy items to decorate your ponies' Brighthouse (aka lighthouse). You can buy chairs, tables, major appliances and even paint to decorate and colour your place as you see fit. While it would have been nice to actually see your ponies in the Brighthouse, playing around and enjoying all the items you've placed, it was still a nice diversion, especially for kids who love building their dream homes.

The Verdict

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights is a well-designed, highly accessible game that fans of the series are sure to love (or really kids in general because what kid doesn't like ponies!). This is a sequel done right with an expanded roster of playable characters, much more game content to enjoy, and the introduction of two-player co-op for the entire campaign. Any pony with kids in the house should check out this game!

Final Score: 8/10 - Great

My Little Pony: A Zephyr Heights Mystery details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Drakhar Studio
Publisher: Outright Games
Genre: Action Adventure, Platformer
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

A key was provided by the publisher.