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Happy Sheep

For: iPhone

Getting fleeced

Product: Happy Sheep | Developer: Ivan Vasilyev | Publisher: Ivan Vasilyev | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
Happy Sheep iPhone, thumbnail 1
If only these sheep knew what fate had in store - they wouldn't be so happy then. For now, though, they're quietly oblivious as they wait patiently to star in Happy Sheep, a jaunty, reaction-based casual puzzler for iOS.

Your objective couldn't be any simpler: guide your woolly charges along a system of conveyor belts, sorting them into baskets of corresponding colours at the bottom of the screen.

We don't know what horrible end awaits them - but at least someone's getting a nice new jumper out of it all.

Basket case

You see, each stage ends when you've gathered enough wool to complete an item of clothing - but unfortunately, there are complications.

For starters, you have to move baskets manually, sliding back and forth to ensure the correct sheep drops in the right hole. You also need to keep an eye on conveyors belts, tapping to change their direction.

As stages progress, sheep drop onto the production line in increasing numbers, while other items - from bombs to golden sheep - help and hinder your efforts. But remain vigilant - frantically redirecting sheep away from the wrong baskets - and you can avoid bringing the game to a premature end.

Theoretically, the fun comes from Happy Sheep's tense, chaotic creature-management, where even a second's inattention can have disastrous results. Indeed, it's a surprisingly tricky affair for such a casual offering, with limited health and often overwhelming odds making for a considerable challenge.

Shear boredom

But a handful of issues conspire against Happy Sheep's solid premise. For starters, it's poorly paced, and completing each level takes far too long. It's monotonous even when things are going well, but downright frustrating when all-too-frequent last minute stumbles force a tiresome retread of the entire stage.

That wouldn't be so bad if progression brought something new to the mix, but Happy Sheep fails to develop its core conceit in any meaningful direction - and with, little variation between stages, tedium soon sets in.

Happy Sheep isn't a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. Its solid, chaotic core offers the occasionally fraught sorting thrill. Sadly, though, flabby pacing and a lack of variation prove wearisome - and, fittingly, the overall effect is rather like counting sheep.
Happy Sheep
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 5 February 2013
A reasonably captivating casual puzzle premise squandered by poor pacing and monotonous level design
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