The Sims 4 Horse Ranch on PC
Like many Simmers, I’ve been around the block with the franchise’s many expansion packs, offering new ways to experience the game. While some DLCs provide a unique world filled with a ton of activities, others feel more like an add-on for items and not an extension of gameplay. The Horse Ranch pack falls in between this spectrum, where it has a ton of opportunities for animal lovers but fewer options for its overall playability.
If you are a horse enthusiast, the latest expansion pack is perfect for you, given its customization features and numerous wholesome moments. The bond you share with your stallion is where the add-on shines as you develop multiple companionships throughout your Sim’s life. The Mini Goats and Mini Sheep are also excellent family members that will cause you to say, “Aww! How cute!” frequently.
When you first take the reins, you’ll be greeted by a variety of clothing options for both your Sim and horse, featuring saddles, cowboy-inspired outfits, and fashionable hairstyles. The collection isn’t as abundant as past additions, yet the alternate patterns provide more than enough materials to get your desired look.
You can choose from over 30 horse breeds and utilize the same paint system as Cats and Dogs. Although I would’ve liked to see unicorns, the horn accessory allows you to produce the same effect, just without the perks of magical abilities.
Players can match their horse’s ensemble by designing their Sim’s outfit, from an adorable toddler horse onesie to a Ranch Hand-esque clothing set. Then, once you’ve got the look you want, it’s time to ride out to Chestnut Ridge, a Westernized world accustomed to horse riders. Simmers can build the ranch of their dreams at the Riders’ Glen, with up to five lots (four are medium-sized and the last is a 64×64 lot.)
Aside from your homestead, you can ride around Galloping Gulch or visit the central hub, New Appaloosa. Compared to other packs, the town doesn’t have much to offer since several buildings in the center cannot be interacted with. You can still have some fun, though, by getting to know other residents, especially when everyone rounds up for the Cowpoke Dance on the new dance floor. The sense of togetherness is one of the best aspects of the Horse Ranch pack, where you can get help from other ranchers and party to your heart’s content during cookouts.
Players will spend most of their time at the New Appaloosa’s Hay Now! Equestrian Center, a place designated for horse competitions and any other steed-related content. It’s a great way to earn some cash, but I wish there were an option to see how the course is going rather than wait for it to end.
I consistently ran into a bug while here that didn’t allow me to enter my animal companion into the competition, indicating that a horse wasn’t on the lot. Thus, I had to either refresh the game or go back and forth from the house to the building.
Other than that, the home base is probably my favorite aspect of the expansion pack since you can get lost in the rancher’s lifestyle. There were so many intervals where I never left home, keeping busy with the animals, plants, and cleanliness. It could almost feel like a farming simulator, yet this time, you can build your own story using the creative elements of the series.
I wanted to feel like I was truly living off the land with this pack, so it was nice to focus on improving my home and not feel the stress of the Sim’s chaotic career paths. Horses can still cause tension around the house with their needs; however, they aren’t as demanding as infants. Once you level up your companionship and overall skills with training, ranching can be a breeze, and it’s satisfying to see how well the Sims and horses mesh well together after the relationship has fully blossomed.
Depending on the area you’ve chosen, you don’t even need to buy training materials, like the barrels or jumpers, due to the surrounding resources of the base map. That way, players can save room for items in the vast Build Mode collection that could make it feel like a real home on the range. Not only can you customize the ultimate ranch home, but you can also design an animal barn using the Animal Feeder, Water Trough, and Horse Bed.
It’s also a great idea to play the Mini Goats and Mini Sheep on the lot, considering that they can provide you with money through milking and shearing, and they are just plain adorable. The togetherness factor once again shines with these animals, given that they often play around with horses and other Sims. Nevertheless, it would be best to keep an eye on these individuals, as they aren’t a part of the official household.
The wholesome moments these animals share make the pack worth it, primarily when two horses’ traits mix well together. I found it a lot easier to manage my household whenever my animals got along, and seeing the love and care they shared for one another was really pleasing. It can also lead to a foal when the steeds develop a romantic relationship, where you can raise and train a young horse from start to finish.
I did encounter other bugs here and there, including an instance where the Sim didn’t eat or mount the horse. Again, you can close the game to fix this issue, yet it does become relatively tedious at some points.
Last but not least is the Horse Ranch’s Nectar-making aspect, a non-career path that can give extra money based on the quality of your product. Those who love the Sim challenge will undoubtedly enjoy the intricate process as you attempt to grow resources from gardening and level up the corresponding skill. Additionally, players must adequately age the drink to increase its value and taste, permitting them to either sell it for profit or drink it during a celebration.
If I could base this review on the wholesomeness of all the animals and the ranch lifestyle, I would give it a perfect score, but since there aren’t as many activities to do outside of that, it’s hard to justify it as a DLC. In comparison to past additions, there isn’t much to offer in terms of gameplay, making it feel more like a game pack than an expansion pack. I can definitely see how much work was put into the horse movements and personalities, yet I would’ve liked to see more interactions beyond that.
I highly recommend playing the Horse Ranch if you love caring for these animals, want to try out a new Sim experience or enjoy farming simulators. Despite its lack of gameplay, it pairs well with the base game and the rest of the DLCs, bringing in a new wave of challenges. The pack has a lot of potential to open other doors in the franchise, and it’s already made me begin my traditional binge-playing for the next few months.
Not a lot of new gameplay.