Version Reviewed: 1.0.59
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound: Rating:
Game Controls: Rating:
Replay Value: Rating:
Hay Ewe is a line-drawing puzzle game in which players control a sheep (hence the "ewe") who has to gather a flock of lambs from various farm locations (hence the "hay"). As its clever play-on-words title suggests, this game is full of charm and has a lot of spirit. Unfortunately though, Hay Ewe suffers from some control issues that keep it from being an absolute delight.
In each of Hay Ewe's levels players must trace a path that the sheep protagonist follows, with the ultimate goal of each stage being to collect as many lambs as possible with as efficient a drawn route as possible. As players progress through the game, obstacles, foxes, and other barnyard inhabitants force players to think creatively using both their wits and a slew of items. These items can be purchased via an in-game computer on a storefront cutely titled "Amoozon."
It's touches like "Amoozon" and "Ewetube" (for YouTube), along with clever items, varied stage types, and an overall charming aesthetic that make Hay Ewe a delight to play. Progression in the game ramps up at a well-balanced rate, and unlocks unroll at just the right speed so as not to feel overwhelming.
All of this is unfortunately hard to enjoy thanks to a control scheme and viewing angle that make trying to accurately control the sheep pretty frustrating. Although the line-drawing mechanic is something that's been done well in many an iOS game, something about its implementation here makes it hard to get the sheep to go exactly where desired. Part of this problem comes from Hay Ewe's level design, which sometimes isn't 100% clear about what aspects of the environment are traversable. On top of that some items that players can interact with seem too small to accurately navigate to, causing players to lose points purely out of an imprecise mechanic rather than a lack of ability. This is a pretty significant problem with Hay Ewe, and makes the experience of playing it feel rather unfair most of the time.
These problems almost makes sense when considering that Hay Ewe is made by Team17, the developers behind the imprecise multiplayer game Worms. Outside of a goofy multiplayer context where everyone is subject to messing up (usually in hilarious ways), this imprecision just feels bad. Although there is a lot to like about Hay Ewe, it's almost too hard to get over its control problems.