Philip K Dick once asked “Do Androids dream of electric sheep?” Capcom, it would appear, have started to wonder what quilters dream of. This is a world of patchwork fields, and cotton wool sheep, where cows can knock down trees and a wooly UFO takes to the skies. Herding games are quite a niche genre. There’s Herdy Gerdy, pretty much on his own. Now he has to move over a little and make way for Flock.

So, Flock is a herding game. It’s also a puzzle game, of sorts. The initial levels are simply a case of chasing the sheep with your Saucer, and guiding them into the MotherFlocker. It doesn’t take long, however, before you’re presented with levels which can only be traversed one way, or require you to shrink your cotton wool sheep (by getting them wet first) in order to get them past some fences. It’s round about here that you start to realise that this game is knocking on the door of genius.

The game world is absolute joy to behold. Gloriously colourful patchwork fields held together with big stitches and bordered by cloth hedges. Cottonwool sheep graze in these fields, while later in the game you will find cows, pigs and chickens all beautifully realised in various materials. Your own UFO is a little wool affair, which docks with the larger, and more tea-cosy-ish, MotherFlocker. Everything is so well presented. There are silly little touches like the way the animals are stunned after being catapulted, or the little ghostly angels heading skyward when you’ve accidentally chased a sheep into the sea that just make you love this game even more. Even the way the sheep move is brilliant, and that’s really just a cloud shape bobbing up and down a bit. Something about this game makes it an absolute joy to behold, in that same way that Braid captured our hearts.

Gameplay is ridiculously simple. The animals will move away from your UFO so, using a bit of deft control, you can guide your herds where you want them to go. Each set of animals will react differently. Chase the cows, for example, and they’ll panic and stampede – knocking down trees, fences and anything else that’s in their way. Each level has a set number of animals you must collect, and a time limit to do it in. Obviously as you get further into the game the levels become more complex and if you want to get a decent time for a level you’ll really need to think about how to play some of the levels.

Levels can be enjoyed in single and multiplayer modes, and there’s a level editor which allows you to make your own worlds and share them online. At first the editor is quite limited, but as you play through the levels you’ll unlock different features you can add to your levels. Basically, the game is only over when you want it to be over – which I don’t think will be any time soon.







4 responses to “Flock”

  1. Lorna avatar

    This looks and sounds great…shame about the 1200MS point price tag though! :0 I’ll hold off a while on this but it’s certianly on my list.

  2. GamerGeekGirl avatar

    I was at the launch party for this on Wednesday ^^

    (It was pretty boring… I don’t know what most video game launches are like, but this was just people standing around drinking with 2 360s in a corner for people to play on if they wanted… nothing else happened 🙁 )

    It’s a good enough game, but it doesn’t seem 1200 points good… although, this is comparing it to The Maw – maybe it is 1200 points good but The Maw shouldve been 1200 too…

  3. Martin avatar

    Sorry for the pun but this game is flocking awesome, you’re spot on with you’re review. It is a quality well put together title and well deserving of its price point. Compared to lesser priced games it more than justifies its price. Loads of levels, multiplayer, level editor etc. I’m gonna stick my neck out and say that this is in the top 5 live arcade games ever released, the cynical need not apply.

  4. Jake avatar

    Woo… you can suck the wool/hair/feathers off the animals with the tractor beam. They die. But it’s awesome all the same.

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