I go baaa- baaa at Team17's latest puzzle game.
Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 17th September 2014
- Developer: Team17
- Publisher: Team17
- Release Date: 19th September 2014
Before I started playing Flockers I thought it would be a fairly easy game. Perfect for when you have a few minutes spare and fancy a quick play. What I found though, was a more puzzling and addictive playing experience then I expected. But despite this, there is one major problem with Team 17's latest offering.
The concept of Flockers is simple and will be familiar to anyone that has played the classic Lemmings. In Flockers you have to guide a flock of sheep through a series of levels that are filled with all kinds of deadly and heinous traps. Using a small selection of power-ups that are collected by your flock as they travel through the deadly game world.
Your flock of sheep are totally dependent on you to lead them to safety. They carelessly skip through the games levels constantly moving. When they reach a wall they simply turnaround and head in the other direction. The various deadly and terrible blades that lay in wait, ready to turn them into red gooey piles of small bones don't deter them. Neither do the giant spikes ready to impale them at a moments notice. They are completely oblivious to the mortal danger that surrounds them and happily skip along on their merry way. This constant movement of your flock, requires you to think fast. The game offers little opportunity to plan ahead and this is part of the appeal of Flockers. Your first strategy may not go to plan and when you get things wrong it can often result in the loss of a large portion, if not all of your flock.
Initially the puzzles seem a little basic, but they soon ramp up and you have to keep your wits about you. As you progress through the game you'll have your flock heading off in different directions, teleporting and defying gravity. The developers have come up with some imaginative ways to test your puzzle solving skills, especially when what seems an obvious route through to the end turns out to be anything but.
For me the main appeal of Flockers, is that the game requires you to be creative with the limited selection of power-ups at your disposal. This gives it an addictive quality the makes you want to carrying on playing and it certainly has that, “just one more go” appeal, just like some of the greatest puzzles games do.
As much as I liked the Flockers, there is one major flaw that almost spoils the whole experience. The biggest issue is that Flockers has mainly been designed to be played with a mouse. I personally found the cursor style control that is moved via the right stick a little clumsy and hard to get to grips with. Especially when considering if you move the screen view via the left stick the cursor stays put and can be difficult to find again. This can be extremely frustrating when you're trying to save your flock from the impending doom of a grinder.
Like most puzzle games, there's the usual content to be unlocked. There are hidden secret levels for you to find and a whole host of custom sheep to add to your flock. The custom sheep are nothing more then a gimmick and a bit of fun. The secret levels however, offer a slightly different playing experience. Players are equipped with 99 of each power-up in these levels and it is your objective to round-up as many sheep as possible in a set time limit. It's not much, but does add a little variety.
Flockers is a fun and fairly addictive A to B puzzle game, that keeps you on your toes and tests your wits. It's highly playable and hard to put down once you start playing. Sadly, the experience is almost spoilt by a clumsy and awkward control system that takes some getting use to. If you can overlook the control issues it's definitely good fun, but may drive you baaa-rmy!
Review Score: 7/10
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