If anyone’s not familiar with Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep or the Home Sheep Home game and its sequel, this is time to get acquainted with the franchise. Chillingo recently released Shaun the Sheep – Fleece Lightening (universal). It’s a big departure from the previous titles and one that will appeal most to young gamers. But I have to confess the compelling style and simple mechanics kept me playing long after my son had gone to bed.
The game is essentially a racer. A very 3D CGI looking Shaun, the woolly hero, takes on pigs in frantic short dashes through a variety of barnyard settings. Players have to guide Shaun around obstacles, over hurdles and through tractor traffic to beat his unusually agile porcine nemeses to the gate. First place earns three apples, second two, third a meagre one and the last one to safety get the gate slammed in his face.
The best thing about this level-based game are the control schemes. For iPhone accelerometer controls are extremely precise and path tracing fans will enjoy that option especially on the large iPad screen. For traditionalists there are directional arrows too.
The levels, while somewhat repetitive, do have a nice learning curve to them, and offer as much variety as is feasible for the theme. The early races are easily won, but making it to The Mud Bath, the last of 10 worlds, requires 195 apples, or a lot of perfect scores.
The games weakness is the lacklustre level editor. It’s clunky and cumbersome. It’s a great idea, though, and something I hope to see refined in an update as it would add a lot of replay value to an otherwise fairly short game.
In the end Fleece Lightening is an ideal choice for young gamers mixing familiar and friendly characters, a simple goal, and catering to short attention spans. But older gamers beware, there is something addictive about the silly racing making the latest Shaun the Sheep game a minute-killing keeper for all.