148Apps Network Post
Developer: Chillingo
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

As weird as it sounds, I’ve never managed to “get into” British stop-motion shows. Yes, that includes Wallace and Gromit as well as Shaun the Sheep. It’s not that I have anything against any of them, they just never struck a chord with me. That’s not to say that series fans (or even non-fans) shouldn’t take a look at Shaun the Sheep – Fleece Lightning, though. With or without an appreciation for the subject matter, it’s a pretty nifty little racer.

In this particular outing, Shaun is trying to prove himself in the Fleece Lightning Championsheep race. Oy, the puns. Players guide the hyper-intelligent barnyard animal through 80+ courses as they try to avoid obstacles and get to the finish line before any of those pig jerks. The game offers touch, tilt, and drag controls so there’s bound to be an option to everyone’s liking. I personally prefer to drag as it makes playing one-handed on the subway fairly effective. Once all those barnyard races are finished there’s even a level editor to keep players occupied well past the final lap. Or they can race against their (optional) ghost on completed courses to try and best themselves.

Aside from the ease and accessibility of the controls, Fleece Lightning is also fun to look at. Everything bears Aardman Animations’ definitive style, and the levels that don’t involve dirt tracks are quite vibrant and colorful. Many of the courses beg to be replayed as there are more than a few shortcuts hidden throughout. And of course there’s the added replayability that comes with ghost races and custom tracks.

It doesn’t take long for the races to get tough, however. More and more supine opponents get added as things progress, and the levels only get more insidious. I wouldn’t say Fleece Lightning ever gets unfair, but it certainly makes players work for first place. Repeating a race a few times is practically a requirement to win later on. And while I love the idea and ease-of-use of the custom track creator, the inability to share them with anyone is disappointing. Handing an iOS device off to a friend and watching them play a hand-made level is certainly an option, it’s just a shame that it’s currently the only option.

While I imagine fans of the series will probably get a little more enjoyment out of it, there’s nothing to keep everyone else from enjoying Shaun the Sheep – Fleece Lightning as well. It’s another great example of pick-up-and-play/on-the-go iOS gaming. One that the whole family can enjoy, no less.

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