Disclaimer: no sheep were injured in the writing of this review
Bringing together all the best parts of a puzzle-platformer with a side of sheep guts, Flockers is definitely a game that is shockingly enjoyable. It incorporates the style of old-school video game Lemmings to a perhaps more grueling level with its enhanced graphics and sinister soundtrack amid the desperate cries of sacrificed sheep.
The controls of the game are simple enough and there are even help banners in the first few stages that give you hints on what skill you should use to move forward in the level. There are eight possible skills that you can give to the sheep in order to overcome obstacles including a release (makes a sheep leave its formation), jumper (crosses over small gaps), super-sheep (climbs up walls), exploder (self-explanatory) and four different types of formations. This is all well and easy at the beginning of the game when you are only required to lead one flock of sheep to the finish line, but as you delve further into more difficult levels, you have to multi-task with two groups that rely on each other to complete the stage. The restart button was definitely used a fair few times in the more testing levels so it’s a good thing there’s a reward for using it 200 times. You also have to pay attention to where the sheep are going seeing as they move on their own accord and don’t seem to care that they are about to leap to their gruesome deaths.
Looking at the design of the game, any player can appreciate the steampunk style of each level and the high-end graphics of the background; you can even see little pieces of sheep become stuck to the protruding spikes when you accidentally let your flock get impaled. Team 17 have outdone themselves in terms of death-traps by incorporating tools such as blades, saws and mallets which would normally befit a torture chamber or a steampunk nightmare. There were many levels where these death-traps were purely aesthetic since the only way your sheep could get caught in them was if you purposely lead them there in the first place, but they definitely added to the steampunk feel of the game and showed off Team 17’s famous brand of humour. Reading the system requirements, I was originally worried that I would have problems loading the game on my laptop, but I ended up having minimal problems with lag and not once did the game freeze, which was a pleasant surprise.
The majority of the puzzles in Flockers hold a high standard of difficulty and will slowly build your frustration as you attempt to forge a three-star trail on the stages map. Quite a few times throughout the game, half of my flock was butchered before I could figure out how to move forward in the level and I lost count of the many times I miscalculated a crossing under a metal presser. I recommend pausing the game before trying to complete the level so you can get the gist of the skills that are available and figure out which death traps are around your flock’s immediate vicinity. Also, I found that practically all the levels required replaying as I rarely managed to gain three-stars on my first attempts and don’t even get me started on trying to collect the golden fleeces.
Overall, Flockers is a well-designed puzzle game that holds some substantial replay value, especially with the amount of unlockable content available as well as the use of the ‘Meat Maker’ which encourages players to create and share their levels. There were a few quirks in Flockers that made the game just a little bit better such as the inclusion of sheep-pun level titles; War and Fleece, Lambo: First Blood and School of Flock were just a few of my favourites. Also, the steampunk design of the stages made it visually appealing and helped to distract me from the fact that I had just impaled a horde of sheep due to my inability to multi-task in this game. I am currently in the midst of unlocking the multitude of rewards that are available in Flockers and, at the moment, I feel like it’s almost impossible to complete all of these achievements (seriously, three-star every level?). Flockerswill enthrall anyone with a morbid sense of humour and a knack for challenging puzzles so if you want to try something to test your problem-solving skills, you’ve come to the right place.
Have any of you gotten your hands on Flockers yet? What did you think? Let us know if you agree with our review in the comments below!