Flockers Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD


Flockers Preview


Sheep. You’re a gamer, so what’s your first association with sheep? If it’s ‘weaponized’, you’re on the right track, friend. What we’ve got coming with Flockers is a small slice of the fabled Worms universe. Specifically, the one that tells the story of how all those sheep you’ve shot, flown, blown and thrown got their training. You’ve guessed it – Team17 is at the helm again, with a brand new game series to boot.

As original as the legendary Worms might be, it seems that Flockers will be using a tried and true Lemmings mechanic as its basis, instead of something entirely new. This is not a bad thing, mind you, as we haven’t had a proper tiny cute critter slaughter simulator in ages now. I’ll be the first one to wish Team17 good luck with this endeavour, but there are certain elements of the Early Access version of the game that have me worried a bit. We’ll get to this later on, though.

Let’s begin with the visual fidelity of the game. The graphics are really cute, as far as sheep and their move set are concerned. The old 2D sprite is brilliantly translated into its new three-dimensional home, and fits in rather nicely into its surroundings. Coincidentally, it’s the rusty spikes, axes and hammers that make these surroundings what they are. The cutesy sheep trot along these deadly traps, doing their best to escape the grimy facilities they’ve been trapped in. As you can see, the premise is pretty wild and does its best to keep the player entertained throughout the levels. The environments are filled with niceties to feast your eyes on, and it’s really never boring when the game gets going. All the sharp/blunt dangers I’ve mentioned earlier aren’t there just for the looks, either. Your sheep will come into contact with these quite often, and they will die. In a red puffy mist of gross chunks of meat. But it does look pretty!

The gameplay consists of a player overseeing the path that the sheep are about to take. As our fluffy little pals approach obstacles, the player has to react accordingly and use an ability he deems most appropriate. There’s flying, jumping, exploding (you knew it was coming) and, well, that’s about it. There’s another option of boosting sheep one onto another so that the rest can reach high ledges, but that’s just unimaginative. This is what worries me. With a premise as wacky as this, Team17 could potentially create a gold mine, if they add many more sheep skills before the release date. As the situation currently stands, the novelty wears off after a couple of hours and the game devolves into a repetitive skill spamming, sheep saving boredom gauntlet. Again, this is an Early Access game and I’m pretty sure the developers will get to the bottom of this, but it might be worth keeping an eye out whether or not will the game have more sheep specializations than it currently does.

Another thing I’m not too happy with is the way camera is controlled. It’s either too jerky or too slow, depending on the given situation, and in Flockers, having immediate control over the sheep will surely be the most important interface function. There’s one more issue vaguely connected to the camera problems. In some later levels, there’s a hefty amount of teleporters the sheep have to traverse through, and it’s often hard to predict through which portal will they be coming out.

All of the issues mentioned above aren’t too hard to deal with, and I’m hoping that Team17 will recognize them before Flockers goes gold. Still, even in this early, unpolished form, there are hours upon hours of fun to be had. After all, the sheep are a charming kind, and there’s something magically awesome about this game. Even though there’s bound to be plenty of blood and lamb chops splattered about. In case you manage to finish every developer-built level available, there’s a pretty robust Steam Workshop waiting for you to put it to work. It seems that every game I write about nowadays has it, and it’s a good thing, too. User generated content is what it’s all about, and some of these levels might prove to be more imaginative than the vanilla ones are.

I’ve just realized that I forgot to include a pun that includes something from the Silence Of The Lambs. Oh well, I’ll remember to use it in the review in a couple of months.


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