|Publisher: Feral Interactive Genre: Arcade|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 601 @ 233 MHz RAM: 64 MB Hard Disk: 100 MB|
According to this game, sheep actually come from another planet. They were sent to Earth long ago to scout things out, but forgot their mission and eventually became domesticated by humans. The sheep from the home planet have now decided to reclaim their scouts, and they've possessed a few people of Earth to round them up and return them. You play the role of one of these Earthly shepherds.
Sheep is primarily an arcade-style game, which also has strong elements of puzzle solving. Playing one of four herders--each with their own strengths and weaknesses--you must try to herd as many sheep as you can, as quickly as possible. The sheep often stay together, but sometimes stray. To herd them effectively, you need to stay behind them, gently nudging them in the right direction.
Making your way through the levels is easier said than done. One of the challenges is simply getting your sheep to go through places against their will. Additionally, there are times when they are physically not able to cross some barrier and you have to do something like pick them up and carry them across, or guide them to a catapult, etc. Things aren't all bad, though--there are also power-ups throughout the game which can make your life easier or give you more points, such as a radio which causes your sheep to follow you for a short time.
The controls are not difficult to learn. A few tutorial levels are included to help you get accustomed to the game. Overall, these are quite helpful, but my biggest gripe was that the tutorial would tell you to do something like "press the action key", without telling you which key is the action key, which would have been helpful.
Though two dimensional, the graphics in Sheep are well done--each map is unique and has its own atmosphere. In fact, I think I would go so far as to say that the graphics were the high point of the game for me. There are a few 3D-style cut scenes, but I'm glad the whole game doesn't sport this look.
The sound effects were neither a highlight nor a disappointment. There's a soundtrack that plays in the background as well as various in-game sound effects. The sheep can get annoying after a while, but luckily the sounds can be disabled.
The most important aspect of a game is simply its playability. To be honest, Sheep is not a game that I would personally choose to play for long periods of time. It's not a bad game, but it's definitely not targeted at hardcore gamers. It seems to be designed for a younger audience; the content is non-offensive and the characters and cut scenes seem geared toward this age group.
The closest comparison for the game would be the classic Lemmings from several years ago. If you were a Lemmings fan, I certainly recommend that you check out Sheep. I suggest checking out the demo before purchasing the game.
Sheep has fairly modest system requirements. Most of my testing was done on a Power Mac G4/533. Not surprisingly, Sheep ran flawlessly for me. Although it isn't OS X native, Sheep ran fine in Classic mode. I also tested Sheep on a Powerbook 3400/200, which falls below Sheep’s stated system requirements. On this system, the cut scenes were choppy, but the game itself played reasonably well. Some people have reported stability to be a problem, but I did not encounter any problems. If you run into any trouble, make sure to download the latest patch from Feral.