Saving Private Sheep: Mixing Physics and, uh, Sheep

Geek Culture

Mission Accomplished, Sir!Mission Accomplished, Sir!

Mission Accomplished, Sir!

You know what’s missing from most physics puzzler games? Sheep!

Okay, so maybe you didn’t miss them, but somebody apparently did.

Saving Private Sheep, an iPhone game from BulkyPix just released this week, has you rescuing sheep from the ravenous wolves below. Each level starts you with various types of objects and at least one weird pentagonal sheep. Your goal is to get the sheep from wherever it is to the piece of land—if it falls off the edge, the wolves devour it and you start over. With 80 levels of increasing difficulty, it’s a pretty challenging game that takes a combination of planning and dexterity.

Watch out for the wolves below!Watch out for the wolves below!

The wolves are hungry!

Wooden objects disappear with one tap; ice takes two taps (but can be broken by other things), and metal objects cannot be broken. Bomb crates blow up when tapped or struck by other objects. You’ll also encounter items that are attached to each other, swings and levers, and even wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. (These you’ll have to keep from landing on the ground.) You also get more points (and win medals) for solving the puzzles quickly and with as few taps as possible. Solving a level unlocks the next, though sometimes there are two unsolved levels to choose from.

The graphics are nice enough, but what really makes the game shine is the extra stuff going on while you play. Wolves pop up from the bottom, baring their teeth and grinning. And in the background, various weird shenanigans play out: UFOs stealing cows, paratrooper sheep dropping from the sky, and other bizarre little scenarios that are completely unnecessary to the actual gameplay but provide some great comic relief while you’re pondering what block to tap. The sheep-as-soldiers thing is somewhat inexplicable but still funny.

Save the sheep, lose the wolf.Save the sheep, lose the wolf.

Save the sheep, lose the wolf.

Saving Private Sheep also uses OpenFeint to allow you to share your scores and achievements with the world. I’ve been informed that a new level pack is coming soon, as well as a version for the iPad.

It’s not a bad game at all, though I was able to pass most of the levels within the first few tries (level 75 had me stuck for quite some time). I think I would have liked some more Hard levels scattered throughout, particularly if you could skip past them when needed. Getting a gold medal on each level proved a little trickier but I’ve managed to do that on most as well. I love the humor of the game, though, which reminds me a bit of Angry Birds, another physics puzzler involving silly characters. It’s not my favorite puzzler, but I did play through 79 levels so clearly it held my attention. (I’m currently stuck on level 80—anyone want to help me out there?)

Saving Private Sheepiconicon is $2.99 in the App Store.

Wired: Physics + humor = win! Great animation and simple interface make this a blast to play.

Tired: Would benefit from a better balance between easy and hard levels.

Disclosure: I received a download code for review purposes.

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