Getting ahead by using his head.
Chillingo have already been providing the app store with odd ideas for years now, but Sticky Sheep takes the biscuit. It’s a cross between mini-golf, pool, sheep herding and an Angry Birds style slingshot system.
The story behind the game is that Baxter the dog needs to get a bunch of stubbon sheep back to their pens. When barking doesn’t work any average sheepdog would give up. But Baxter isn’t an average sheepdog and prefers to use his head (complete with colourful crash helmet) and roll into the sheep to push them towards where their goal.
In practice this means pulling your finger back from Baxter to gain power and choose an angle (just as you do in Angry Birds), then let go, sending him flying towards the nearest thing in his path. Hitting a wall or object will result in the crazy dog rebounding off obstacles at an angle, just as with the numerous mini-golf games available on the App Store.
Knocking in to a sheep will then send the sheep flying off in a similar manner to a pool ball. Once all the sheep hit the target the level is complete. Luckily, target areas are large and points are awarded based on how close to the centre a sheep gets. Knock it right into the middle and an award is earned.
An iPhone game from Chillingo wouldn’t be the same without the obligatory three-star scoring system and, you know what? Sticky Sheep doesn’t buck the trend. Stars are dotted throughout the course and need to be rolled over to be collected. It adds yet another element to the game which will ensure players keep coming back to each level, especially on the latter stages where just getting the sheep over the target is a tough challenge.
Add in switches, pinball style bumpers, moving platforms and other puzzle elements and you have a good skill level progression building up as you make your way through the levels. Different styles of sheep with different attributes appear including black sheep that need to be kept away from the targets and even pigs help to keep things fresh.
Finally, finishing a set of levels opens a new level in Arcade mode, which tasks you with scoring as many points in a limited time as you can. Each sheep you get on target will add time back on to the clock and earning points can also earn you more shots. It’s a much faster game than you get with the main levels and is also great fun.
As you’d expect from a game mixing sheep and mini-golf, the levels are bright and colourful, with some lovely cartoon characters. Even while there are lots of objects on screen it’s always easy to see the path ahead thanks to the clear cartoony graphics. Different areas have a completely different look to them, with snow, sand and grass areas to navigate around.
The only negative comment I have about the game is the difficulty in working out exactly what Baxter will do when you push him off. It may just be me, but the physics model doesn’t seem quite as accurate as in other games, with the dog rolling in odd directions at different speeds. It’s certainly not enough to put anyone off the game for long, though.
Sticky Sheep is a great physics game with some unique ideas and a fun arcade mode that I’d love to see expanded on. Another top class addition to the Chillingo line up.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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