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CONSOLE: Game Boy Advance DEVELOPER: Capcom PUBLISHER: Capcom
RELEASE DATE (NA): 2002 GENRE: Strategy
// review by Lydia

Sheep thrills.

Who wool-d have thought a game about herding sheep would be so adorable! "Ewe" would simply not believe it! When I saw the title of this game, I thought it would be one of those games where the sheep would continuously walk in a straight line and I would have to prevent them from falling to their doom or being impaled or whatever (much like the game "Lemmings"). My assumption was wrong! Sheep is quite the delightful little game that revolves around a dog herding sheep from one end of the level to the other end. It sounds simple, but let me tell you—there is no shortage of dangers that are waiting to steal your precious, oddly-colored sheep!

You will never guess what the first few levels are! ...Tutorials! See, I knew you would never figure it out. The tutorials are pretty simple, but also pretty simple to bypass (even if you have no idea what's going on). Hints come in the form of wooden signs with giant question marks on them. Okay, that's not bad; they're fairly conspicuous and offer good advice. However, in order to get the advice from the board, you must stand still in front of it and wait while the text slowly moves across the bottom of your screen. Now, that normally wouldn't be much of a problem, but when you have stray sheep with suicidal tendencies, it becomes a bit of a hassle. You'd better hope that the first few words on the sign tell you what you need to know before your sheep decide to swan dive into a nearby pit of lava or take a ride on some spinning axes. That's really only one of the few complaints I have about the game though. "SheepMan" will usually give you some additional pointers before each level, but they are usually simple things that you either already know or could figure out for yourself. The game really isn't that hard, so why the game insists on giving you more help than you actually need is beyond me.

As I said before, the game revolves around herding tactics. This can be easy or slightly more challenging depending on the "type" of sheep you choose. You can choose a different type of sheep for each level; each type has unique characteristics that can be used to determine the best method of getting the sheep through the level. There are the normal white poufy sheep that are docile and easy to herd around. Next are the pink sheep! Yes, you can herd around little bleating cotton candy clouds! Just don't let the farmer's tractor run over them or they will turn into little bleating hay bales with eyes and legs. There are also "Rock" sheep, which are defined as "wild and stubborn." These sheep sport a long, spiky, eye-covering hairstyle and just look like they are dissatisfied with everything. They may as well have called them teenager sheep! The "Cool" sheep are not cool. They just kind of wander everywhere and may or may not go where you're trying to herd them. However, they are adorable little blue puffballs with enormous eyes and you cannot help but want to squeeze them! Not only are there different types of sheep, but there are two different types of herding dogs that you can choose from. There is a male collie and a female border collie. I went for the border collie. I mean, who can resist an adorable animal with a flower in its hair? Not me! I only wish that there had been more of a variety of dogs to choose from instead of just a strong dog or a fast dog.

With all the mutton chasing in this game, you'll be in sheep shape by the end.

Over the course of the game, your dog will have conversations with the sheep that pretty much go as you would expect. The dog is excited and eager to get going, while the sheep are rather slow and would rather check out that dinosaur over there...or that giant boulder tumbling towards them...or those open furnaces. Needless to say, no matter what type of sheep or dog you pick, you are going to have quite a challenge ahead of you.

I hope you're ready for some traveling—you will be chasing these sheep here, there, and everywhere! Through the farm, over the bridge, and to great-great-great-grandmother's medieval castle we go! The levels are full of themed obstacles such as catapults, cavemen, and carrot patches. The graphics may not be too great, but hey—it's a Game Boy game! You cannot expect everything to be as beautiful as nice, cold lemonade...that sounds so good right now. Anyway, beverages aside, the graphics don't really matter here. The player can tell the paths from the not-paths (the game even has a zoom out function!), and there are no "trick" areas. Scattered among the areas are conveyor belt/metal detector things that give your sheep special qualities. And when I say "special," I mean bouncing blue blobby sheep...and parachute sheep...and strange grey sheep with orange ears. Let's just say, Sheep has enough variety in every area to keep you interested and on your toes...I mean, paws!

Overall, Sheep is a cute little game that will charm you into playing it over and over again. It may not be a high quality game, but it is quite "ewe"-nique. Don't go on the "lamb" when you first see it! The ram-ifications of not playing this game are, well...nothing, but it is worth giving it a once over. And yes, I am well aware that my sheep puns are...baaaaa-d.

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