If the premise of a hue-changing sheep that uses prismatic laser blasts to destroy slavering, color-coded wolves doesn’t pique your interest than I can safely say you will not enjoy Color Sheep ($0.99). If it sounds appealing, then you’ll be rewarded with a game whose strange premise combines with fast-paced, addictive gameplay for round after round of wolf destruction.
In Color Sheep you take the role of Sir Woolson, who can change his fleece to produce laser blasts of destruction. Each round begins with Woolson at his neutral black-wool state, which you change by tapping colors on the left with bright and dark intensity buttons on the right.
While you’re changing colors, bright-hued wolves are fast approaching from the right hand side of the screen. Once you’ve matched Woolson’s color to the oncoming wolves, you tap him to unleash a colorful blast which swiftly reduces the lupine attackers to bones and pelts.
The game becomes more complex as you encounter wolves with colors that can only be countered by mixing your colors. For instance, bright cyan wolves can be felled by holding down the bright button and sliding from the green button to the blue button. As the packs grow and diversify, the battle becomes more intense. It’s a bit tricky, but you’ll soon find yourself falling into a pleasant groove of sliding and tapping.
The only other defense Woolson has are randomly dropped magical items. These have varying effects: some provide a shield, some call down a lightning attack, and one magical staff creates a rainbow wave of destruction that disintegrates your enemies. Unfortunately, these vanish at the end of each round, so use them early and often.
A Lot of Personality
I’ve said it a few times, but Color Sheep is a really charming game. The wolves are cartoonishly ferocious, strutting across the screen, while Woolson’s head-wool flutters majestically in the breeze. The game’s animation is very fluid, perhaps even hand-drawn.
There are lots of little animated flourishes throughout the game. Like Woolson’s winning smile at the end of each round, his terrified expression as the wolves draw closer, and, yes, the clatter of the defeated wolves’ skulls. It gives the game a defining look and a lot of personality.
On the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the game looks particularly sharp and bright. However, I thought it was a bit washed-out and blurry on the larger Nexus 7—but not enough to dampen the enjoyment of the game.
Beauty Only Fleece-Deep?
Charm goes a long way, but Color Sheep needs a little bit more substance to be a really great game. The fact that Woolson remains stationary while wolves rush toward him makes the game feel very static, which might be the price you pay for high-quality animation.
Also, one-hit kills on Woolson might be realistic, but it does make for some frustrating play—especially because you go back to the first round after each death. Other casual games, like Tiny Wings, also use a back-to-the-start play style, but the lack of dynamic play makes starting over in Color Sheep feel more like a grind.
Tiny Wings is actually a good touchstone for Color Sheep, since it also had a bit of an odd premise and unique touch gameplay coupled with charming art. The difference is that Tiny Wings had a little more depth, especially after a major update which brought whole new gameplay modes.
Going From Good to Great
As it stands, Color Sheep is fun game and well worth the $0.99 that it costs in the Google Play store. Its animation is nice to look at, and the color combo attacks are surprisingly enjoyable to execute. You’ll want to keep playing, but the constant re-starts might wear on you.
Myself, I’m hoping that the developers build on what they have for a second installment (or a major update) that adds more varied and dynamic play. I want more out of Woolson.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc