Sheep Hero, available for iPhone and iPad through the Apple iTunes App Store, is an interesting and gorgeously presented game, with enough gameplay hooks to keep you coming back for more, however a design error really holds the game back.
The game tasks you with guiding a series of running sheep across a canyon strewn course, with the aim being to keep the fluffy creatures alive until they reach safety. Each sheep will automatically run to the right, and you need to tap the touchscreen to make them jump over the cracks in the ground until they arrive at the pen on the right hand side of the screen. Wolves will also appear, and they have no problem with navigating the canyon to try to nab a sheep or two. You must tap the gun icon then blast them before they reach your woolly friends.
There is also a rocket which will launch one sheep to the goal with no jumping required. Both the gun and rocket are on countdown timers, although you are given one use at the start of each game to help you out. I would also recommend using the rocket at the start of each mini phase, on the first sheep each time, as this will make the next few far more manageable.
Now, we come to that design error I mentioned earlier. The problem is that, when you touch the screen, the sheep nearest to any canyon will jump, which is fine with just one sheep or one canyon, but with two or more sheep, each next to canyon, it becomes incredibly difficult to judge which sheep is actually going to jump when you touch the screen. The multitasking required is just too much, especially as the game has the sheep timed to hit each canyon at nearly the exact same moment very early on in each play through.
This isn’t just me not being able to multitask, as a quick look at the Game Center leaderboard for the game shows that, out of the 1000+ players, only 4 have managed to score over 20 sheep, with every player outside the top 10 scoring 8 or less.
This can be solved one of three ways. Either change the timing of the sheep to ensure that two sheep reaching both canyons simultaneously rarely happens, give us the option to individually tap the sheep we want to jump, or have a tap on the left side of the screen have the sheep nearest the left canyon jump and vice versa for the other side of the screen.
I hope the developer changes this, as I really liked just about everything else about the game. It is free, with a small fee to remove the ads being the only possible cost, the graphics are detailed and charming, there are enough different gameplay mechanics to satisfy, and the online leaderboards are a welcome distraction. The whole thing is beautifully presented, and I really wanted to score the game higher than I have.
Hopefully, I can return and raise the score when the developer makes the required changes. Fingers crossed.
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