Bouncing Sheep is an arcade styled Windows Phone game where you drop sheep down on to a flock of birds to take them out. The storyline has your sheep peacefully enjoying the quiet of the pasture when a bunch of noisy birds invades the rolling hills.
The game includes dozens of levels to play that are spread across three landscapes (the Hills, Beach and Desert), plenty of power-ups to help you defeat the birds and decent graphics. Available for low-memory devices, Bouncing Sheep's game play reminds me of the old Pachinko games.
In playing Bouncing Sheep on and off for the past few days, I can see the appeal the game could have as an entertaining time waster of a game.
Silence of the birds
The game opens up with a slide show illustrating the storyline of Bouncing Sheep. If you prefer, just tap the screen to skip the show and head straight to the main menu.
Four options are present on Bouncing Sheep's main menu that include jumping into game play, viewing your diary of achievements, accessing the settings and viewing the About screen. Settings cover sound/music levels, turning on/off push notifications and resetting the game data.
Achievements range from playing a set number of games to saving a set number of sheep.
Each game of Bouncing Sheep will cost you a life, which is eventually replenished over time. Should you exhaust all your lives the notifications alert you that the game is once again available to play.
Game play is spread across three world or landscapes that include the Hills, Beach and Desert. The worlds, along with the levels within, are progressively unlocked.
You will see your life and diamond counter displayed on the game's level screen. Lives are replenished at a rate of one life every ten minutes or you can replenish your supply through in-app purchases. On the plus side, you will only lose a life if you fail a level. Succeed at the gaming level and the life you spend will be reimbursed.
Diamonds are earned through game play and are used to buy power-ups. They too can be obtained through in-app purchases should the need arise.
Your gaming screen has your vital stats running along the left side of the screen. They include your diamond count, power ups, access to the help screens and your target score/goal.
Your sheep are suspended at the top of the screen by a crane that can be moved by tapping/holding on it and sliding it left or right. Below the crane is a collection of birds, suns, clouds and trampolines. Once you've positioned the crane to your liking, tap the crane to release your sheep.
The sheep will bounce off things as it falls. The birds take two hits from the sheep to be removed from the screen while the suns, dark clouds and trampolines help continue the sheep's bounce. White clouds will serve as protective barriers for the birds but with multiple hits by the sheep, they'll disappear.
The goal of each level ranges from saving sheep that are surrounded by birds, taking out all the birds or reaching a scoring goal. You do have a limited number of sheep (as indicated by the number next to the crane) and three power-ups you can use to increase your odds of success.
Power-ups include a Jumbo Sheep (more damage), Fire Sheep (more damage) and a Wind Effect that lets you control the sheep's movement with your Windows Phone tilt controls. You begin the game with a limited number of power-ups but can use the diamonds to buy more as needed.
The sheep will bounce around until they miss a trampoline at the bottom of the screen and fall of into oblivion. You can have multiple sheep in play at the same time.
While I found Bouncing Sheep to be an attractive Windows Phone game, I also believe it may be more of an acquired taste than a game with universal appeal. Game play is challenging, the graphics are well drawn up and it is not a bad gaming title to pass the time with. But it's more of a game of chance than an interactive game. Sure, you do have to position the sheep but once dropped, it's the luck of the draw on how successful the sheep's bounce is. The trampolines are a nice touch to keep things going but maybe pinball paddles you control would have been better.
The only downside to game play that I discovered was at times the screen sensitivity was an issue. There were times I felt as though I had to press through my Lumia 925 to move the crane into position. Hopefully it's a simple fix with a software update.
I'm also not a fan of the requirement for energy/tokens/lives to play the game. It does regulate the amount of time you spend with a game (which isn't a bad thing) but if I'm on a roll and run out of lives I don't want to have to fork over a few bucks to continue game play or wait ten minutes. It kinda ruins the gaming experience. I think these type games would be much better if they charged $.99 for the game purchase and dropped the in-game token system.
Stepping down from my soapbox, while I don't think Bouncing Sheep will be everyone's cup of tea I do think it's a game worth trying. It may be more of a game of chance but it's not a bad time waster. The game is currently un-rated in the Store and I'd place it in the 3.5 to 4 Star range.
If you give Bouncing Sheep a try, let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, don't forget to rate the game in the Windows Phone Store so the developer can get a feel for things as well.