Review: Flock!

boxRelease: April 4th, 2009 (XBLA)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Proper Games
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: Everyone

Flock! is essentially taking the childhood nursery rhyme Little Bo Peep, and taking it ultra high tech. Think of it as Bo Peep was abducted by aliens, had babies with them and her great grand children are back to continue her herding ways. Herding is the basic premise of Flock but the game offers so much more.

basic play

Each level begins with a quota of sheep, cows, chickens or pigs that must be herded and ushered to the Motherflocker to complete the level. If a level is completed within a specific time, a gold, silver or bronze medal is awarded. Further emphasizing the reward aspect of the game, if all animals on the field are ushered to the ship, a star is awarded for a perfect abduction. However, players don’t have to earn a medal or star in order to pass the level and continue onto the next. This ability to replay levels for faster times and medals or for the perfect abduction star gives Flock! lots of replay value.

After the completion of each level the player is also rewarded with a prop, animal, or piece of scenery to use while making their own levels in the level editor. Players can then share these custom levels with other players via online connections such as Xbox Live. There is also a co-op mode where two players can gang up on the animals, in order to either help or hinder the other’s progress. Unfortunately, co-op mode must be played with another person in the same room, not over Xbox Live, which is a bit of a minus.

love patch

Each level and stage opens up new animals to herd and new ways to do so. Using the light from your spaceship, along with your tractor or depressor beam, large boulders, and geysers, the animals eventually find their way through the puzzles and pits to the Motherflocker. Perhaps the best aid in filling the abduction quota is the love patch. Bringing a basic sheep and an ewe to this red patch with a heart will beget little baby sheep. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Awwww, they are so damn cute!)

Sheep are the basic animal in Flock! and they herd quite easily. Cows have the ability to stampede and destroy fences or other obstacles. Chickens can fly for short distances giving players more points. Pigs wobble along getting stuck in the poo piles and bouncing off the bumpers flying everywhere across the field. In short, the pigs suck. Other obstacles in Flock include launch pads and ramps.  Also, gophers and shadow creatures that come out in the night levels to eat the chickens.

night

The graphics are vibrant, especially levels that have sunset lighting. On the other hand, the patchwork look of the field is well done, but on occasion animals can seem to get lost. Each animal is cute, especially the babies. Surprisingly there aren’t the usual annoying sound effects that would go along with games of this type. With all the sheep making an appearance, it seemed that incessant “baaaaaaaa!” would come with the territory.

Flock! provides a lot of fun in a small amount of time. It’s easy to play a couple of levels, take a break to play another game or do something else. For people who like to exercise that creative muscle, the level editor and creator will give players plenty of ability to flex.

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