History of the Franchise
Created by Gitte Odder Braendgaard, Bella Sara began as a simple line of horse themed trading cards aimed at the young female demographic that sought to negate the influence popular culture has on young girls and their self-esteem by giving them inspirational messages surrounding faith, love, loyalty, and self-confidence, just to name a few. After selling over 6 million cards in Scandinavia in a little over a year, in 2006 Hidden City Games CEO Peter Adkison was given the opportunity to bring the popular trading card game to North America.
One of the first games aimed directly at young girls, what began as an easy-to-collect grouping of a few dozen cards was transformed into a multi-dimensional experience with the development of an online component that allows players to collect virtual versions of the horses and other items found on their real world cards. After activating the code on each card, players can then interact with their horses by grooming them, feeding them, and taking part in multiple mini-games with them.
The DS Version of the Game
Transition to the DS
Developed by Hidden City Games and published by Codemasters, the Bella Sara DS game combines both the offline card collecting and the online gaming aspects of the franchise to create a more realistic horse-themed environment than found on the game's website. Players are once again asked to take care of their horses' basic necessities, such as grooming and feeding them, but each task is more detailed in the DS game. In addition to this, players can also collect the various Bella Sara cards that they have come to know in the real-world, and view them at any time in their digital galleries.
Most gameplay within the title revolves around interacting with one of six horses that players unlock during gameplay. However, instead of the computer completing the tasks of grooming, feeding, etc. with nothing but a few clicks of the mouse, players must now use the stylus to personally remove the dirt and rocks stuck in horseshoes, and must take the time to groom each strand of their horses' manes and tails to perfection, among other duties.
For the first time ever in the franchise, players are also allowed to take their horses for rides through three areas of North of North, the fictional location where all things Bella Sara are based. These forested areas contain collectible Bella Sara cards and golden horseshoes (the game's currency) that appear randomly. As players become more comfortable with the game play within the title, new competitions are unlocked at the championship arena, where players can compete to earn even more horseshoes and Bella Sara cards.
Apart from the single-player aspects of the game, there is also a multiplayer component that allows players to trade their digital Bella Sara cards with friends who also own copies of the game.