By Peter Magers on Tue, 02/28/2012
For anyone who has ever wondered how they would fare in a more pastoral setting, with innocent fluffy little sheep relying on you for their very survival, Orca Inc has devised a new game for you. Flick Sheep! examines that very quandary, all while challenging your brain and logic in colorful and fun ways.
In Flick Sheep!, the player is in charge of herding together an adorable, but wily, group of sheep. While this task seems daunting enough, there is the added challenge of needing to get the flock together and safe before the daylight fades and night begins. The first fluffy sheep are fairly simple to gather, but later levels introduce new and different obstacles that are designed to make your mission a little more tricky. The number of sheep is gradually increased, then different fence layouts are introduced, and then the “fun traps” - bubbles, boxes, cages, and switches – to temporarily capture the sheep begin.
Flick Sheep! is extremely simple to use. The sheep’s pen is a set up in a grid, and each sheep is moved along by swiping – or flicking, as it were – your finger to the next box on the grid. By grouping “like” groups of sheep together, they disappear and make room for more of your flock to be gathered and captured. As the levels increase, the number of swipes, and the strategy needed, also increases.
I like that the game starts off simple; it allows you to get comfortable with the layout, and to get your brain warmed up. The sheer number of levels that the game has is impressive, and prevents even the most avid player from boredom. The game itself is divided into 6 chapters, each with 15 levels. It doesn’t allow you to get complacent, since each chapter, and even each level, offers something a little different and a little more difficult. When it gets too difficult, though, a little boy at the top of the screen can offer hints. In addition to getting to each new level, you have the opportunity to earn up to 21 “achievements” along the way. My other favorite aspect of Flick Sheep! is the availability of GameCenter integration. It tracks your achievements, levels achieved, and scores, and then allows you to compare these measurements with your friends or anyone else playing the game. What I could do without is the aforementioned little boy ; while I appreciate his hints, both him – and his oddly chosen apparel of a cap and cape – were distracting and a little unnerving. I would have preferred the dog, or the sheep, or really anything else, offer the hints.
Overall, the game has a clean, cheerful look. The sheep and other animals are whimsical without being childish, and the farm background is bright and fun without being distracting. The general music is really upbeat without being annoying; the same cannot be said for the sheepdog, which barks twice every time you move the sheep. I can get into “THE ZONE” pretty quickly with this game, and the incessant yipping is hugely distracting.
If you want to give sheep-herding and brain-teasing a try – and have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad with iOS 4.0 or higher - Flick Sheep! is now available at the iTunes App Store for free.