Developer: Pomegranate Group
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Alpacas are pretty awesome. They’re these adorable little llama things with fur that looks soft and fluffy enough to just feel through an iPhone screen. If nothing else, Alpaca Farm is a great excuse to play with cartoon alpacas and raise alpaca awareness in general. However, not even alpaca-fueled fuzzy feelings can save this basic and frustrating game.
The goal in each of Alpaca Farm’s five, brief stages is always the same. Round up the alpacas when they pop up by touching them and avoid touching anything else until time runs out. However, each stage has its own cute premise for why exactly the alpacas need to be caught and what other creatures are out there to avoid. In one stage foxes have infiltrated the farm whereas another features treacherous Englishmen in alpaca costumes. Ultimately though, the game is Whac-A-Mole meets Duck Hunt except shooting the dog unfortunately means game over.
For such a simple set-up however, the game can occasionally get annoyingly difficult. One mistake means death, but in order to succeed and progress players must get a certain amount of points. This means they’ll have to tap on as many alpacas as possible, as quickly as possible, while also being super careful not to touch, say, the female alpacas whose only distinguishing features are the small pink bows on their heads. Having one second left on the clock only to accidently tap the wrong thing and be forced to restart can get very frustrating and the ever-so-slightly sluggish controls just add to the anger.
However, power-ups like alpaca-summoning balloons and point-filled golden alpacas give players plenty of opportunities to earn all three stars on each level. Plus, there are some strategies to be learned like knowing that the small alpacas in the back are worth more points. Despite its core mechanic being so uncomplicated that it’s almost boring, there’s a surprising amount to be gained by paying quick, close attention.
At least the presentation is refreshingly relaxing. The game’s crisp and gentle visuals and animations recall old pop-up books. Meanwhile, the music is cheerful, bombastic, and totally infectious. Between that and its relatively fun, speed-driven gameplay, Alpaca Farm definitely has its positives. Too bad none of them are deep or satisfying enough to make up for its aggravating negatives. If possible, get a real alpaca instead.