Flipping Sheep iOS Review

September 13, 2013 by  
Filed under iPhone/iPod Touch, Reviews & Features

Developer: Simon Pick  Genre: Platform  Players: 1  Age Rating: 4+  

Requires: iOS 5.1 or later, universal app (iPhone 5 optimised) Tested on: iPad 2  

Price: 69p/99c  In App Purchases: No

This is the first iOS game from Simon Pick, who has been a games programmer for thirty years. It is inspired by one of his earliest games, the classic Dare Devil Dennis.

The aim of the game is to guide your flock of sheep through a series of farms, made up of increasingly tough levels. These are shown side-on and split vertically into sections. Reaching the right hand side of the screen warps the sheep back to the left hand side but down one level, until they reach home at the bottom right of the screen. There are hazards such as farm buildings and trees to jump over. Bouncing enemies including spiders and cows must be avoided or dodged under. Gaps in the platforms drop you down to the next level, and pests (including hedgehogs) can be trampled for a bonus.

On each level there are also extra sheep to pick up, some of them hidden as clouds. The overall score is based on reaching home with as many sheep as possible. Later levels add a time limit. Reaching top speed will “fleece” the sheep for an additional bonus. The more stars earned from high scores and performing tasks such as ridding the level of all the pests, the more farms opened to play.

There is an additional mode of play to be unlocked, known as Journey. Here there are a new sequence of levels. The idea is to survive with a growing flock, the bigger the flock the higher the score multiplier. The player can choose to restart at the later levels or return to the first and aim for a bigger score.

The sheep are simple to control (with onscreen icons or directional swipes) but it will take practice to really master the game. Only the lead sheep can be affected by hazards. Pressing and holding Speed Up makes them move faster, but release the button and the flock slows down. Jump makes the sheep jump, and holding will increase the speed and distance of the jump. The Stop control brings the flock to an instant halt, but at the cost of a sheep each time – making its use very strategic.

This is a highly polished game, starting with the clever title screen. Here you can pop the sheep to clear them, or tap one of the flag-coloured sheep to choose the language all menus are shown in. Cute sound effects and snippets of speech add to the atmosphere. Most of all it is fun to look at, with lovely backgrounds and cuddly animals.

At such a low price and with such a small download, this comes highly recommended. Subtleties such as spinning windmills for bonus points and chaining jumps become apparent through extended play, and going for high scores will bring you back time and again. In the crowded cattle market that is the App Store, here is a well-bred and fun little game players should flock to.