Divide By SheepOverview -
'Divide By Sheep' is a mobile/Steam puzzler developed by the Russian/Ukrainian studio Bread Team and published by tinyBuild (the same people behind 'Boid'). 'Divide By Sheep' began life as a prototype called 'Let Islands Jump,' but after tinyBuild partnered with Bread Team, the game took its now familiar form of a game grounded around sheep, wolves, and the Grim Reaper.
Ostensibly a puzzle game, 'Divide By Sheep' has a dark little backstory involving the Grim Reaper and his need for friends. The Reaper can only befriend the dead, and with the help of his pet kraken, the Reaper has flooded the world, and it's down to the player to try to rescue as many sheep as can be safely floated away. As the game opens up, however, wolves, ghosts and so on become a part of the mix.
The game's visual style is best described as adorable/grisly. The little sheep and other animals have a chibi style, with rotund little bodies and cutesy faces. In sharp contrast, some of the hazard platforms do terrible things to them, like the laser beams that slice them in two (which make the game’s title a bit of a double entendre) and leave bloody entrails all over everything. The environments and models are typically made up of a single stylized shape or string of shapes that have a glossy sheen. Colors are bright and distinctive.
There is an option to make the game's visuals more kid friendly. What that means is removing the blood from the halved sheep, but there are sheep still being cut in half by lasers and swallowed by wolves. The Reaper also eventually joins the fray, and in those levels, the player's sheep (and wolf) killing objectives are a little more apparent.
'Divide By Sheep' has no voice acting, but does have a chipper, cheery soundtrack. It tends to get repetitive, but never irritating. Sound effects are simple and standard.
'Divide By Sheep' is a sharp, snappy little puzzle game. It is relatively short, but also smartly designed and has a manageable difficulty curve. Despite its clear mobile pedigree, it is mercifully free of microtransactions. There is a setting in the options that curbs the gore, so it could probably make a great kid’s game (but I wouldn’t classify it as edutainment). A more thorough explanation of the mechanics wouldn’t hurt it, and the controls can be fidgety, but 'Divide By Sheep' is a competent and engaging puzzle experience.
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