By Eric Pankoke on Wed, 12/09/2009
There have been several games in the App Store that revolve around sheep, and some of them border on wacky. So far, I’d say that Peter Und Vlad takes the cake, at least in terms of story. Unfortunately, the game play is pretty standard line drawing fare, and a couple of design issues make the game not quite as fun as it could be. Still, it’s always nice having another entry in the ever growing library of line drawing games that doesn’t somehow involve vehicles.
Peter and Vlad are brothers. Peter likes to grow plants, and Vlad is an inventor. One day Vlad decided to help Peter out and invented a weather machine that Peter could use to control the rain and help his plants go. Unfortunately, Vlad somehow managed to make the machine so it requires wool to run! Now as the machine passes over sheep it will absorb their wool and eventually overload itself, causing no end of grief to the weather. As Peter, it’s up to you to corral the sheep into the barn so that the weather machine can’t get to them. And you thought there wasn’t a need for sheep herders any more.
You control Peter by drawing lines where you want him to walk. The sheep are afraid of you, so they’ll walk away when you come near. The object is to get them between you and the barn, then slowly walk towards them so that they move towards the barn. The problem is that you can’t walk real slow because the storm machine’s coming and you need the sheep inside the barn so the machine can’t suck up their wool. On the other hand, if you rush the sheep they’ll freak out and possibly just run the opposite direction. Seeing as you’re not a very big guy, there’s little you can do to block them should they decide to head for the hills instead of the barn. You can still herd the sheep when the storm machine comes, but the clouds that accompany it make visibility quite poor. The machine can hold the wool of 15 sheep before it overloads, and best I can tell there’s no way to remove wool from the machine once it’s sucked the wool up. When the machine’s full, the game is over.
Along the way you can eat mushrooms that will give you certain advantages like extra speed or double score. There’s also a panic button, but I’m not really sure what that does. I also haven’t been able to figure out when exactly the storm machine comes to end a level. Sometimes it seems like a level lasts for only a few seconds, and other times a level might take a couple of minutes to play. It would be nice if the help screen went into a little more detail (or maybe they could even add a second help screen to elaborate on the game a little).
While I’m not a real big fan of the overhead perspective style of art, especially in games that use smaller objects like most line drawing games do, the visuals in Peter Und Vlad aren’t too bad. There are actually some nice little details, like water splashing when the sheep walk through a pond or the wavy effect that ensues temporarily when you eat a certain mushroom. The line that Peter follows is actually a set of footprints instead of an actual line. My favorite effect, however, is when you finally lose and the screen clouds up before finally fading into a bright white light. The sound effects aren’t bad, though it would have been nice to hear more from the sheep, since they take center stage in the game. The music is actually pretty decent, and I love how it changes and intensifies when the storm machine comes on the scene.
Overall, Peter Und Vlad is an interesting addition to the variety of line drawing games that are available for the iPhone. The quirky back story provides a good chuckle, and it’s definitely a challenge trying to keep the sheep moving in the right direction towards the barn. The music is also well worth a listen. I just wish there were a bit more of an explanation as to what constitutes a level and what the Panic button does. It wouldn’t hurt if there were some way to extend the game by sucking some wool out of the storm machine, either.
Overall Score: 7/10
App Store Link