Developer: Ladia Group
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Running Sheep HD is but one of the many games inspired by the 1991 classic Lemmings. All that really means is that the player changes the environment to lead a group of dumb creatures with no survival instinct to freedom. When done correctly, games of this style can be quite the delightful brain teasers. However, Running Sheep HD has a few odd design decisions that keep it from reaching that upper echelon.

Space aliens have stolen a flock of sheep, as they are prone to do, and it’s up to the player to guide them to safety. Touching a square on the floor places a pad that will point sheep in a particular direction the player can change on the fly. If there is nothing to stop it, a sheep will walk to its death so smart pad management is needed to collect the orbs and reveal the exit. Add to that the fact that while pads can be removed and replaced, their quantity is finite.

There are over sixty levels to tackle, an impressive number, and the difficulty curve is fairly steady. Soon players will be leading their sheep through laser fire and killer robots. Unfortunately, the graphics and sound, while appropriately sci-fi, get kind of repetitive after a while.

However, the main issue of Running Sheep HD is the massive amount of trial and error. Ideally, a player would be a able to check out a stage ahead of time, carefully lay out their course before unleashing their sheep and would then have all the time they need manage problems that crop out of the fly. It would still be challenging and sheep would still die but it would encourage patient, thoughtful play. Instead, Running Sheep HD levels start with the sheep already in motion, and there’s a time limit meaning that even if the sheep are on their to the goal, if the timer runs out it’s game over. In later levels, first attempts almost always end in frantic failure and the time limit throttles the players ability to experiment with new routes before discovering a successful one. Games like this work better as slow burn puzzle experiences.

There aren’t really any other features but the sheer amount of stages should keep most players busy for some time. Plus, many of those levels will need to be replayed many times before moving on. Running Sheep HD is a fine puzzle game of this kind that is hurt by pacing problems.

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