Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Home Sheep Home began as a web-based game, said to have had a massive 80 million players loading up their browsers in an effort to help the bleating Aardman characters – who were spin-offs from Wallace & Gromit – find their way home. But can that scale of success be achieved when you put the same formula into effect on the iPhone and start charging for it?
Made up of a series of physics-based puzzles, the player is tasked with simply moving three sheep – Shaun, Shirley and Timmy – from the left to the right hand side of the screen. Of course, there's a few obstacles to negotiate before getting there, and each sheep has its own unique skills to help you get there. Timmy will fit through the smallest of gaps, while the big and heavy Shirley has no problem pushing heavy objects around.
It's solid idea for gameplay, as the aforementioned numbers regarding the web-version prove, but there's a few issues on the iPhone. The biggest being the controls. Three on-screen buttons provide left, right and jumping movements, with three more to select which character's best for the job; they are very tiny on the screen, though, and don't seem to offer much room for error when missing slightly. This can prove to be a little frustrating as once a puzzle's been figured out in the brain, it can often be difficult to implement those thoughts on the screen.
The other big problem here is the length of the game itself. There's 15 levels included, which I'd estimate to have have taken me around 45 minutes to finish. It's always hard to complain at such a thing when the game is costing just $0.99 – but we've been spoiled by iOS developers a little in the past, meaning 15 levels seems pretty meagre when compared with the hundreds of levels in other games at the same price. Open Feint scoreboards go a little way toward offering some replayability by completing levels more quickly, but the initial feeling of puzzle solving success is gone after the first play through.
While Home Sheep Home looks all cute and pretty, with it's water-color painting art style and little sheep derived from hugely popular TV characters -- and while the game's really not all that bad, offering some nice challenges in the later levels with some very well thought out hints when things are getting tricky – it just doesn't feel like good value for money. Especially seeing as the flash version can be played on the web for no cost whatsoever, and it's exactly the same, perhaps even better thanks to the addition of real buttons.