Classified as a puzzle game, Sheep’s Quest is a mix of arcade action and logical brainteasers wrapped in the veneer of a coin-collecting mission to acquire the needed funds to rebuild a dilapidated farm for the world’s fluffiest sheep. Avoiding, in the process, the requisite collection of enemies and obstacles. The end result is a charming romp filled with sheep thrills and woolly, lemming-like, follow-the-leader antics.
Offering a single play mode consisting of 85 timed levels to solve across seven worlds with six enemies and 30 obstacles to avoid, a half-dozen bonuses to employ and 17 farm upgrades to earn, Sheep’s Quest has enough shear enjoyment packed within to keep you busy for quite a while. And the gist is simple, too. Help the aforementioned critters rebuild their homestead by guiding them through each level in an effort to collect enough coins to pay for the requisite renovations.
Levels begin very easy as you learn the sheep wrangling ropes, herding them through each maze-like puzzle by placing arrows on the ground to steer the adorable, fluffy creatures away from obstacles and enemies and toward the coins to be collected, maneuvering them onto jump pads that will hurl them across gaping chasms, over switches that power mighty fans, onto plungers that detonate devastating explosives and into waiting vehicles that transport them to the next segment of the maze. Impediments such as falling boxes, crumbling bridges and rolling boulders must be avoided or triggered properly to advance your sheep and thwart the baddies.
Being a shepherd of sorts, however, is not all cut and dry. A good deal of forethought is required for these sheep to reach their destination. As mentioned earlier, each level is timed. Take too long to reach the exit and you’ll run out of time and have to start over. The same holds true if you lose too many sheep. Though not an issue early on, these concerns becomes significant factors as you progress further into the game.
What exacerbates the timed aspect of play is the need to unravel the logic behind completing each puzzle. As levels become more complex, you need to think several moves ahead to ensure that your fluffy friends survive intact. Thankfully, you can pause the game to survey each puzzle and “more leisurely” plan your next move. While your goal is to collect all available coins and reach the exit with each sheep intact, some levels can be completed with a few less woolly mammals than you started out with. But, you’ll need every coin to unlock the exit.
Of course, an assortment of bonuses is on hand to help you bleat, err beat, the puzzles you come across. In addition to coins collected are bottles of liquid that make your sheep invincible, stop signs that halt enemies in their tracks and a clock that stops the timer. All are temporary, but very helpful nonetheless. As for foes, you’ll run into baddies that resemble wolves, dogs, crocodiles, bears, penguins and ghosts.
Lest you think all play is logic-based, Sheep’s Quest has a surprise in store. To spice things up a bit, some arcadish fun is provided when moving from one world to the next. A set number of sheep need to be conveyed from one side of the screen to the other via a trampoline on wheels. In this transitional segment, you must successfully bounce sheep from one side of the screen to the other, one or more at a time, without letting them hit the ground. It amounts to a fun little interlude between the game’s more brain-vexing puzzles.
Sheep’s Quest is an enjoyable diversion to while away the hours. To its credit, play is addictive and family-friendly, visuals and music add to the atmosphere, and the learning curve is gradual. You can replay any world or level previously completed, upgrade your farm with coins collected and check out your score to see how you’ve fared. Plus, complete your farmstead repairs and you receive a Windows screensaver comprised of the finished farm scene. The only black sheep in the mix are a lack of sufficient bonuses to take play to the next level, cut scenes that pale in quality when compared to the game itself and a leader board sans online score comparisons. None of these foibles, however, severely detract from the overall experience.
We won’t pull the wool over your eyes. If you adore puzzlers with a touch of arcade frenzy, ewe can’t do much better than Sheep’s Quest. It’s filled with shear enjoyment from start to finish!