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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! is a Remake (and released)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's a few changes, but it's mostly to get it on a new platform.

Earlier this month, I wrote an article titled, What's Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!?. (I like how those three forms of ending punctuation are represented there in a row, and it makes grammatical sense.) Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! had just been announced by GAME FREAK then, and it's been released now—exclusive on Apple's subscription-based Apple Arcade service. Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! may very well be the best game available on that platform.

This isn't a review—despite Apple Arcade having a one-month free trial, and the existence of promotions that extend that into several months—I own no devices in Apple's ecosystem, and Apple Arcade is exclusive to those devices. I'm not planning to enter that, either, especially not for a remake of a game that I already have and enjoy on the 3DS. Allegedly, the game's performance on Apple Arcade will determine if GAME FREAK will work on developing Pocket Card Jockey on the Nintendo Switch, so unfortunately, I can't help to make that happen.

There is a whole story about how the mobile versions of the original Pocket Card Jockey (which were a Japan thing) sucked, mostly because they made the game into a free-to-play piece of garbage and Pocket Card Jockey really isn't fun in that format. But with Apple Arcade—and this is one of the good things I noted about it since it was announced in 2019 (and then I never wrote about it again)—developers can release games for mobile without having to compete in a zero-price environment (making revenue through more nefarious means).

The cast of characters (horse owners and jockeys alike) are all from the original game with the same personalities, as are nearly all of the awesome game mechanics and general game progression of raising a horse and levelling its skills up, and then it matures, and then it retires to make babies. You still die at the beginning of the very limited story.

Some things, like the calendar, are refreshed, and you can customise your protagonist with clothes. And the angel no longer references place betting in the introduction sequence, like I wrote would've been a probable thing to happen if Pocket Card Jockey came to another system. Ah, and of course, the graphics are all in 3D. And the economy is redone. And it looks like the stamina stat has been completely reworked to go from one heart per 10 stamina points to stamina being a continuum involving every point of stamina you have. How many whips you get in the final sprint also is no longer tied to your stamina stat but is its own stat. And your Unity Power can now go over 100. And there is a login bonus for...some reason. (I guess they couldn't totally get away from mobile mechanics.) Breeding is also revamped, including the game telling you a horse's family tree instead of you having to remember it, and there is some kind of poker hand horses are born with and inherit from their parents, and you actually get to watch the horses be born this time instead of the babies just appearing in a menu when entering Growth Mode.

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! Login Bonus daily week
Login bonuses partially shift Pocket Card Jockey from rewarding skill and personal player growth to... a participation trophy mindset.
Though I don't know how big an impact these bonuses provide.
(Screengrab from rrvirus, in a video about 50 minutes long. I watched the entirety of it.)

I... feel like I really want to play Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! just to go very deep into it and analyse the game mechanic differences between the 3DS version and its Apple Arcade version. But I'm not buying an Apple-manufactured device just for this. Hope it gets on the Switch, then.

By the way, the reason GAME FREAK made Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! to begin with is because of the alleged passionate Pocket Card Jockey fanbase, not because the 3DS eShop is closing in about two months. (You should get Pocket Card Jockey on the 3DS before that happens... it's only $7. And has a free demo.) I want to know where this passionate and bigger-than-five-people fanbase exists. Japan? Because in English-speaking countries, it's quite rare to actually be able to find and talk to a Pocket Card Jockey fan, with KoopaTV being one of the hotbeds of activity for the game, since no one else is really doing anything for it. (For example, KoopaTV is the only place on the Internet you can find the staff credits for Pocket Card Jockey. And we house a records spreadsheet.) Yet they ended up localising Ride On! regardless. Very nice of GAME FREAK!

Ludwig has seen some people blame Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! for problems surrounding the latest Pokémon games on the Nintendo Switch. These people are, without question, idiots. If you're one of these idiots, please comment on this article so Ludwig can enjoy trashing you. If you're an intelligent person who can appreciate Pocket Card Jockey, you're also welcome to comment, especially if you're part of this cult fanbase community that GAME FREAK insists exists.


  1. One possible use for obtaining the Switch remake would be to record footage of it to show people what the game is like on your Youtube channel. I mean yeah, 3DS recording is POSSIBLE but it's still really hard, unless new capturing breakthroughs in that regard have been made that I don't know about.

    Also, apropo of nothing in the article, I wanted to let you know that I finally resumed playing The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and I'm through Case 4 of the first game (or "adventure" as the duology calls them.)

    1. I wanna know if its possible to play Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! on a Mac with a mouse. (Not that I will ever get a Mac.)
      Because I really don't want to play it undocked with claws on the Switch's yes-it-exists-but-why touch screen. Using a stylus is the way to go, but it seems like touch screen devices nowadays have all decided no to styluses.

      Oooh, another excellent game I constantly recommend~

    2. IIRC, the last time it got brought up in a reply conversation with me, you mentioned you hadn't completed The Great Ace Attorney either. I was sort of hoping to hear if you'd made any more progress on it since then like I had?

    3. Uh... Well I 100%-ed TGAAC in 2021. I believe that was September.


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