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My Little Pony Explorers

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My Little Pony Explorers
Mlpfantendo
Developer(s) PlatinumGames EAD No.2
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Director(s) Kenji Saito
Platform(s) Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, RazerPocket, Steam
Genre(s) Beat-em-up, action-adventure
Release Date(s)
November 2017

RazerPocket:May 2020

Mode(s)
Chapter Mode, Challenge Mode,
Age Rating(s)
E10+ (Cartoon Violence)
Engine CryEngine 4
Storage Needed 15GB
Cost $19.99
Max. amount of players 1
Minimum Requirements (PC version) Core i3 2500, 4GB RAM, GTX 480.

"Purify the Fallen"

My Little Pony Explorers (also known as MLP: Wrath of Virena) is a upcoming sorceress beat-em-up game by Platinum Games and Hasbro, the same collab that brought Transformers: Devastation. Unlike other Platinum games, it sold well. PlatinumGames had decided to balance out their projects, so they formed two development groups. One handles major projects, and the other handles minor projects. They would also upgrade their publisher to Ubisoft making their first Platinum game to be published by Ubisoft, and the first Platinum game to be on the Switch.

Development

Following the recent cancellation of Platinum's Scalebound in January 2017, an announcement of two new games (a remake and a new licensed title was announced) was created. The remake, also known as Bayonetta Ultimate, would be published by Ubisoft for Steam, Xbox One, PS4, and the Switch, which has the following new features as broadcast in E3 2017. It would also be optimized for Scorpio and Pro consoles.

  • 4K graphics (support for 8K and triple screen)
  • New weapons and accessories
  • Play both Bayonetta 1 and 2 campaigns (also has a bonus campaign)
  • Runesword: Customizable weapon that levels up in a RPG style, can be upgraded to do much higher damage (you can have a combo weapon if you want to score big or a nuker weapon if you want to plow down the enemies in seconds)
  • New Beast Strikes: Use Panther Strike to swiftly attack your enemies, and counterattack with Bat Within!

The licensed title, would also be nicknamed My Little Pony: Wrath of Virena, starring a whole new villain and many villains from the series. Due to the mixed reception (Korra and TMNT got mixed to negative reviews and Transformers got positive), it would be announced on March that the Bayonetta director, Hideki Kamiya will be involved to supervise production. On April 2017, a new small developer team known as PlatinumGames EAD No.2, would be formed to make the smaller projects while EAD No.1 (the main company) would be doing the larger projects.

The soundtrack they'll be going for is a combination of happy-go-lucky and jazz along with vocals similar to Nier and Sonic the Hedgehog as opposed to their more action-oriented soundtrack in their other action games.

Using up the money they were to use for Scalebound, the cancelled game, the game would only have 8 stages (12 extra stages and one secret chapter), but also up to two unlockable difficulties like the Devastation game. The game would also have unlockable weapons and accessories in seperate slots similar to the main titles.

August 2017, the game was almost done. Stages were done, the challenges were done. A tweet update announced that EAD No.2 would be undergoing quality assurance of the game for 5 weeks.

On October 2017, the game is finished and got an E10+ rating (Cartoon Violence). A TV commercial was aired on Discovery Family, and the final release date would be November 4, 2017. The trailer had a female singer that sang the theme song and the band "Young Tribe" that did the trailer song from Ubisoft's For Honor. It also got YouTube ads and TV spots to help out with the sales and promotion. The TV spot is an live action/gameplay TV spot called "Sorcerer of Harmony", where a female sorcerer is shown with magic spells and states: "Watch and learn as you can spread some harmony with the power of magic!"

Kamiya tweeted after the mixed reception that this was actually the replacement for Scalebound using up their money they were to use, and yes, regarding the short length it does have a bit of content to use and two unlockable difficulties opposed to one in Bayonetta 2.


Plot

Virena, the fallen princess of Equestria, has unleashed the power of the Apostles of Equestria. Using it, she casts a ritual that is said to release the spirits of the banished from Equestria. She uses it, and then Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis, Dazzlings, and herself aim to take over Equestria.

Princess Celestia is seeing that there is a eternal night in Equestria. Twilight Sparkle is called to restore the Elements of Harmony, since they have been seized by the Apostles.

Twilight Sparkle is accompanied by the mane six to find Queen Chrysalis and defeat her again. After defeating her, they find out that Virena is taking over Equestria by harnessing the power of the Apostles.

Adagio Dazzle, Sonata Dusk and Aria Blaze are called down to Canterlot, possessed by Virena, battle against the Mane Six. After defeating them, Sonata Dusk decides to give the mane six the location of Virena.

When Twilight Sparkle and the mane six arrive at Virena's castle, she then decides to summon her monsters again and take over Equestria.

Virena escapes from her castle to the moon, and engages with a duel with Twilight Sparkle, and Twilight Sparkle unleashes the magic of harmony, and Virena is thrown into space, never to be seen again. Before Virena flies away, Twilight Sparkle had to figure out the main source of the Apostles. She then returns to her library to find any research about them. However, none of the books mentioned anything about the Apostles or the Fallen Princesses, so she had to find research on her own.

If Twilight Sparkle were to decline from asking Virena about the Apostles: Twilight Sparkle returns to Equestria, then Princess Celestia warns the mane six that she can still sense the Apostles are still active and they have to hurry to find it's other source, while some mysterious pony (Mirena) watches over them and states they'll face the queen of evil. The next day, a rain of disharmony (chocolate milk) starts in Equestria, and disharmony (Mirena's dark magic) falls on Equestria, indicating the Fallen Princesses had won.

Getting the bad ending for the first time gives you a message that states it's from PlatinumGames that says:

  • "Great, you've ended up bringing Equestria into disharmony. But don't worry, the mane 6 still need your help! Explore Equestria to find out what are those unknown Apostles of Equestria, find a way to purify those Fallen Princesses and save Equestria!"

If Twilight Sparkle were to ask Virena about the Apostles (if you collect all journal entries and clues) she can engage in a secret boss known as Dark Queen Mirena, which is the pony responsible for unleashing the Apostles after defeating Virena. Virena and Mirena are purified by the Elements of Harmony as the old Seraph Princesses of Equestria. Princess Celestia congratulates the mane six for reclaiming the Fallen Princesses. In the ending, the two Seraph Princesses gain their throne back in Equestria's castle. 

Chapters

  • Luna, where Twilight Sparkle has to turn Nightmare Moon back to Princess Luna (11 battles)
  • Changelings, where Queen Chrysalis aims to attack Equestria (15 battles)
  • Research, Twilight Sparkle searches for evidence of attacks (7 battles)
  • Canterlot, Virena's attacks are reported at Canterlot (11 battles)
  • Dazzle, where the Dazzlings are here at Canterlot (6 battles)
  • Raider, where the mane six climb up the castle (15 battles) (the first Quest is a running stage similar to Bayonetta 2's representing the mane six heading to the castle)
  • Ascent, where the mane six continue the raid (13 battles)
  • Harmony, where the mane six finally fight against Virena (8 battles)
  • Mirena, secret chapter where Twilight Sparkle finds out Mirena was responsible for harnessing the Apostles(5 battles)

Challenges

These are the challenges. They are based off Witch Trials from Bayonetta, where you have to beat the game to unlock. Unlike Bayonetta, your not restricted to Celestia mode. A * means that this is an "That One Level" on TVTropes.

Name Quests Description Unlock Reward
Virena's Revenge 3 Virena is back, and she's even more powerful! Pre-unlocked Virena's Fury
Mirena's Strife 3 Mirena is fighting again after you foiled her plan... Clear "Mirena", the bonus chapter Barrage Chase
The Trio 3 The Trio is here. Seems like they won't give up... Pre-unlocked Iron Sphere
Nightmare Night 1 The night will still last forever... Pre-unlocked Nightmare Tome
Return of Chrysalis 1 Queen Chrysalis's back to ruin Canterlot. Pre-unlocked Changeling Form
Dazzle Down 1 Dazzlings are back and ready to rock Canterlot! Pre-unlocked Dazzle Song
Mane 6's Will* 3 Mane 6 is working for Virena now... Clear all chapters with every characters (icons next to a chapter selection show which character you've used) Mane 6 Crown
Virena Chase* 2 (first is a running quest) You have to chase Virena. Don't let her get away! Clear "Virena's Revenge" Virena's Bracelet
Crystal Defenders 2 Changelings need their energy. Defend the crystal! Clear "Return of Chrysalis" Luminous Storm
Under our Spell* 2 Dazzlings are trying to fuel their new crystals. Try to stop the Dazzlings from getting their energy! Clear "Dazzle Down" Octavia's Bells
Ruby Moon 1 Nightmare Moon is starting a lunar eclipse and is becoming more aggressive... Clear "Nightmare Night" Ruby Aeonstorm
Mission X 9 Boss rush time! Take out all of the bosses! Clear every challenge Icy Dreams

Bosses

Name Strength Energy Strongest Attack
Nightmare Moon High Medium Shadow Wave
Queen Chrysalis Medium High Changeling Laser
Abel "The Seeker" High Medium Cloak and seek
Dark Armor Medium High Phantom Hammer
The Dazzlings High High Music Blaster
Krantz "The Guardian" Medium Very high Doom Magnet
Ruby Moon "The Shadow" Very high high Dark Circles
Fallen Princess Virena High Very high Dark Starfall
Dark Queen Mirena Very high Very high Dark Splash Explosion (instant death in Celestia difficulty)

Difficulty Settings

As a Platinum beat-em-up game, this is expected.

  • Mare/Easy: For players who want to explore just the story. (enemies have 50% attack and health and attack slower) Icon is a casual mare.
  • Normal: For gamers familar with gameplay style. (enemies have 100% stats) Icon is a battle-ready mare.
  • Lord/Hard: For veteran gamers. Very challenging. (enemies have 175% attack and health and have new attacks) Icon is an smart and determined pony.
  • Discord/Very Hard: Unlocked after beating Lord. Expert gamers onward. Challenges get even more serious. (enemies have 200% attack 250% health, more aggressive, and enemy layout changes) Icon is a pony armed with a harmony shield.
  • Celestia/Hell: Unlocked after beating Discord. Hardcore gamers will face on this, the greatest challenge that awaits. (enemies have 350% attack and 250% health stats, health pickups are non-existant and Mirena's dark sphere explosion can kill the player with one hit regardless if they have two maxed out bars if they were to not dodge in time) Icon is Twilight Sparkle shown with fear on her face.

Unlike Devastation, there are achievements for beating Discord and Celestia difficulties.

Playable Characters

Character Name Harmony Burst Catchphrase Pure Platinum Quote
Twilight Sparkle Gram of Harmony: A circle of light surrounds Twilight and eliminates the enemy. "Are you ready to spread some harmony?" "Twilight Sparkle: A+!"
Pinkie Pie Star Cannon: Pinkie Pie unleashes star blasts from her cannon

(giggles) "Let's have some fun today!"

"Party time!"
Applejack Twister: Applejack unleashes high winds to throw the enemy up in the air, stunning them and damaging them "Smart and strong, at your service. "Rooted up."
Fluttershy Soaring Swarm: Fluttershy calls for a swarm of light birds to fly towards the enemy and bursting into light. "We need to unite our powers!" "Yay!"
Rarity Jewel Barrier: Rarity gets a gem colored barrier that reflects damage to the enemy that attacks, and halves damage. "I can do anything, as long as I stay brave." "Acin it!"
Rainbow Dash Sonic Rainboom: Rainbow Dash summons a rainbow laser snake that follows her around and unleashes laser attacks against enemies.

"I will show you the power of loyalty!"

"Now 20% cooler than before!"
Virena Fallen Climax: Virena gets faster and gets immunity for 15 seconds. (She is unlocked by completing Lord difficulty, takes thrice more damage and moves muchs faster with Virena Time dodges, basing her off from Little King Zero in Bayonetta.) *evil laugh* "I am Virena, the fallen princess of Equestria. "A flawless victory for me!"
Princess Celestia Blessed Requiem: Celestia hoards the Elements of Harmony to bless herself, giving her Harmony Time for 30 seconds. (She is unlocked by buying the Harmony Ticket for 999,999 bits She also cannot use any weapons, only her Celestial Hooves that are powerful similar in fashion to Rodin in Bayonetta.) "One must understand the problem in order to find an resolution." "This sunny scent is so sweet for today!"

Unique Weapons

This is a list of obtainable weapons. Unlike Devastation, you instead have a menu wheel between various weapons. There are no weapon ranks in this game, so unlike Devastation it won't be an action RPG styled beat-em-up. Ponies start with Harmony Hooves, which are their front legs with the Harmony Gauntlet, and they have various combos. After completing Chapter 1, you'll get the Magic Blade.

  • Gunslinger: This spell involves ranged attacks
  • Transform: This spell lets you transform into other monsters or gives you power. Only two  exists.
  • Enfeeble: This spell type lets you weaken enemies. Only one exists.
  • Sorceress: This spell type involves all around attacks combined
Weapon Name Attack Fighting Style Combos
Nightmare Tome Summon shadow waves. Gunslinger Low
Changeling Form Transform into a Changeling. Transform Medium
Dazzle Song Unleash music to weaken your enemy's stats. Enfeeble Low
Arkus Unleash a flurry of lasers. Gunslinger High
Dark Circle Summon ground circles that do damage to enemies. Sorceress Medium
Doom Magnet Pulls enemies towards you and does damage. Sorceress Medium
Virena's Fury Unleash four orbs that lock and drain enemy HP. Sorceress Low
Barrage Chase Unleash laser snakes and a circle of lasers. Sorceress High
Scarborough Fair Shoot magenta homing magic missiles that do high damage Gunslinger Low
Magic Blade Use a phantom blade to slash your enemies Sorceress High
Harmony Cannon Shoot energy stars at your enemies Gunslinger Low
Magic Hammer Use a phantom hammer to smash your enemies Sorceress Low
Luminous Storm Summon a bolt that splits into the other enemies Sorceress Low
Ruby Aeonstorm Call upon the power of crystals to create a shield that whoever touchs you takes damage Transform Low
Icy Dreams Use the power of ice crystals to damage your enemies. Highest ranging weapon. Gunslinger High

Accessories

Name Effect Unlock
Virena's Bracelet Adds an powerful counterattack on perfect dodges. Clear Virena Chase.
Mane 6 Crown Reduces mana consumption on special attacks. Clear Mane 6's Will.
Iron Sphere Adds extra range to your attacks. Clear The Trio.

Gameplay

The game is more based on Legend of Korra, due to the fact that it inherits the counter-attack system instead of Witch Time, similar to Metal Gear Rising. with some differences;

  • The characters instead have upgradable health bars (max is two double-sized health bars)
    • To make up for that to prevent the game from being too easy for gamers, health pickups are rare, and must rely on consumables (your not penalized for using items)
  • Characters use spells that they can unlock (based off weapon selection) instead of being an action RPG like Devastation and Nier and only four fighting styles like Korra.
  • Perfect dodges do negate damage like in Nier.
  • The magic gauge is similar in terms of Wonderful 101 but collectibles can recharge it.
  • There is also training missions to demonstrate the basics (in those missions there is no health bar meaning the player can't die)
  • Unlike Korra/Devastation, the game over screen isn't just a instant continue, a message saying "The Quest for Harmony is Over" will appear, and you see your Mane 6 character you were playing as sitting in the darkness on a blue spotlight, on top it says "Continue?", similar to Bayonetta. Choosing Yes, your mane 6 character will stand and cheer. Choosing No, Virena will let out a evil laugh and you are returned to the main menu.
  • Chapter selection is shown over books. When you select a chapter, Twilight/Virena/Celestia depending on who you choose opens it and the pages flip.
  • Battles/verses/missions are called Quests.
  • There are no endless runner stages with 90 degree turns that have hits instead of health bars (there are only two, but they play more like Bayonetta 2's running stage with the demon unicorn with only forward running)
  • Characters can equip four spells on the weapon wheel, and two accessories.
  • Ranks go from Stone to Pure Platinum (and unlike other licensed titles by Platinum you earn awards)
    • Stone: A pony down on her knees. "Heh heh heh. Is that all you've got?"
    • Bronze: A casual pony. "Mmm. okay, but can you do better next time?"
    • Silver: Twilight Sparkle with a book. "Twilight Sparkle, I know you can do it."
    • Gold: Rainbow Dash ready for flight. "20% cooler? Check!"
    • Platinum: Princess Celestia in her harmony stance. "Shall harmony be blessed in the end."
    • Pure Platinum: Princess Celestia holding the Elements of Harmony with PlatinumGames on the award. "I am the Champion of Harmony, and nothing can stop me!"
  • You can restart battles (if your going for Pure Platinum)
    • "Anti-Frustration Feature: Trying to go for that Princess Platinum achievement? You can now restart battles to go for that Pure Platinum!"
  • There is an alchemy system where the player can build consumables and spells (there are 5 consumables and 5 buildable weapons while the rest have to be unlocked)
  • Ponies can run (based off Panther Within) by pressing R2 twice. R2's dodge is based off a dash like Nier's instead of a flip like Bayonetta.
  • Currency is bits (max is 999,999 bits)

Achievements

Achievement Name How to Get Trophy Rank
Save Luna! Clear Chapter 1 in any difficulty Bronze
Fly Away, Changelings! Clear Chapter 2 in any difficulty Bronze
Found Anything? Clear Chapter 3 in any difficulty Bronze
Canterlot Guardian Clear Chapter 4 in any difficulty Bronze
Dazzle Drop Clear Chapter 5 in any difficulty Bronze
Castle Crashers Clear Chapter 6 in any difficulty Bronze
Topsy Turvy Clear Chapter 7 in any difficulty Bronze
Gotcha, Virena! Clear Chapter 8 in any difficulty Bronze
Equestria's Hero Clear the story mode in any difficulty Silver
Mystery Solved! Clear the secret chapter in any difficulty (Hidden) Silver
Vinyl Scratch Defeat 30 enemies with music only on Lord or higher Silver
Rise of Harmony Clear all chapters on Lord difficulty. Silver
Equestria's Defender Clear all chapters on Discord difficulty. Silver
Celestia's Chosen One Clear all chapters on Celestia difficulty. Gold
Princess Platinum Get Pure Platinum on all chapters on Lord or higher Gold
Deaf Pony Defeat the Dazzlings without getting controlled by their music on Lord or higher Silver
Sly Mare As a Changeling, defeat 25 enemies without being noticed on Lord or higher Silver
Challenger Clear all the challenges on any difficulty Silver
Pro Challenger Clear all the challenges on Lord or higher Silver
Expert Challenger Clear all the challenges on Discord or higher. Silver
Celestia's Challenger Clear all the challenges on Celestia difficulty. Gold
Mare-o-netta Summon the Scarborough Fair spell. Gold
Celestia's Master Collect all of the achievements. Celestia congratulates you! Platinum

Reception

My Little Pony Explorers had mixed to postive reviews, while some criticized it's short length. (A playthrough on Normal could take around 2.5 hours but there is much more to it than that, though).

It got 55's to 65's on Metacritic, a 6.5/10 on GameSpot, IGN gave it a 5.9 "mediocre", stating that the game may not be a bit friendly to use (meaning it could be hard to pickup and play) for it's younger audience (as they described the game as an "little girls' version of DmC or Bayonetta" aimed for all audiences and not just it's target audience, and it got a 6:4 like to dislike ratio as most gamers don't have a problem with that) Despite the fact, it got noticed by MLP fan sites everywhere calling it "a wish for an official MLP game come true" and had high ratings from users. It is often called "Mareonetta" or "Metal Gear Rising: Equestria" due to the counterattack system by bronies. Hasbro would later create a three episode special called "Power of the Apostles", and an novel called Virena's Strife by Perdita Finn, and would be the only three materials at the time with the Fallen Princesses of Equestria. (twin sisters Virena and Mirena)

Fans compared Shantae's Hardcore Mode to this game's Hell Mode (as fans called it Hell Mode more often than it's real name "Celestia") as both difficulties are represented by a character looking in fear and is more hardcore and challenging. 

On Miiverse, popular posts include:

  • Clearing Mission X. (even more serious when done on Celestia Mode (or should fans call it Hell)AND Pure Platinum)
  • Fan art of MLP: Friendship is Magic.
  • Earning the following achievements:
    • Getting a achievement for clearing Celestia/Hell Mode.
    • Completing the game with Pure Platinum on higher difficulties.
    • Mastering out the game by getting the Celestia's Master achievement.
  • Finding bugs/glitches and secrets

eShop Rating

  • Rating: 3.88
  • What do you think this title appeals to?: Everyone 45%, 55% Gamers.
  • What kind of play title is this more suitable for?: Casual 25%, Intense 75%.

Trivia

  • This is another Platinum game to have a second ending, when rumors of a second ending were aboard of Transformers Devastation, it was decided it would be added. The first Platinum game to have more endings was Nier Automata.
  • The Apostles of Equestria weren't like the Apostles from Crusaders Quest although it was implied, they were more as like the ancient version of Elements of Harmony.
  • One of their abandoned concepts was this is going to be an action RPG like Nier:Automata and Transformers, but as it's more on the action it has been scrapped. Their next action RPG is going to be Granblue Fantasy Project Re:Link with Cygames and there will be a sequel made by Morandal Games.
  • Originally, according to the data and an commentary ingame. Discord was originally going to be called Chaos Mode and Celestia was originally going to be called Hell Mode. This was changed to be less frightening.
  • This is the only licensed title to involve Hideki Kamiya, as Platinum's recent titles were in cahoots of reception. He would later come back for Bayonetta Ultimate and the new and improved Scalebound in 2019.
  • This is the first Platinum licensed title to sell well. Opening sales were in third place of Platinum, second place was Bayonetta Ultimate and first place was Scalebound. (which was third place on the action RPGs of 2019)
  • This is the first Platinum game outside of Japan to make use of ads, as their past titles did not sell well enough due to not enough promotion and advertising. Platinum would go for a live action TV spot for Bayonetta Ultimate and the new Scalebound.
    • The TV spot was based off Horizon Zero Dawn's: "Sure you can take down a 60ft robotic dinosaur with one of these, but where's the skill in that?"

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