|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: DayDream Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: D3 Publisher||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
I would like to say that Shaun the Sheep is a wolf in sheep's clothing, but Shaun the Sheep is a sheep in sheep's clothing. This is a kid's game through and through. The problem is deciding if this game is right for a specific child. It's easy, very easy. It's repetitive and somewhat boring. Don't let the suggested age guide fool you; there are young kids out there that can kick my butt when it comes to games.
They would find this game laughable. At the same time, kids that don't play a lot of games, or maybe need a little extra time in their development phase, are likely to get the most out of this game. But there's one thing that we can all agree on: Shaun the Sheep may look a lot like the animated series, but it's incredibly dumbed-down in terms of its humor and in terms of being a video game.
A spin-off from the popular Wallace & Gromit series, Shaun the Sheep shares the same kind of stop-motion, clay-mation animation. It's been very well replicated on the DS, surprisingly so. I was very impressed with the richness of the images as well as the smoothness of the animation. But it's not all sunshine and lollipops. Very little essence of the series is captured. It's as though the developers are targeting a younger and mentally slower demographic than actually watches and enjoys the show. The sight gags are few and far between, and the ones that are included have been sanitized. And, considering this is a Disney Channel series, this game is virtually germ-free, so to speak. Kids deserve a little more grit, after all, they like to play in the mud.
The object of the game is to locate a number of missing sheep and get them back in the pen before the farmer gets back. There are about a dozen sheep wandering aimlessly about the farmyard. First, you have to locate one, and then you have to find some way to get it to follow you. Sometimes they go along peacefully, but other times they either run away or require a different form of persuasion. If they run away, you can track them down using the onscreen map. This is how you'll locate them in the first place. If they require more persuasion, a mini-game will be employed to help motivate them back to the pen. There are only a few mini-games and they vary in fun and intensity. Once you have found a stubborn sheep, the map will display a red star indicating the location of the mini-game you'll have to use on that sheep. Finding the game will require you to trek around the barnyard resulting in more virtual legwork.
In one mini-game you'll have to play a guitar, while another involves jumping on a trampoline in order to rescue Timmy who is walking on a tightrope. Then there is rolling up a ball of yarn, washing down a mud-covered sheep, and that old blowing-into-the-mic trick. These games don't require much in the way of strategy or dexterity. There aren't very many mini-games to begin with, so the longer you play, the better you will become at performing them. This can get a little tedious. To unlock all the mini-games, you will have more collecting to do. You have to pick up chicks. You have to track down and deliver a dozen baby chicks to a worried hen. They are spread throughout the environment, but they're not as difficult to find as they are tedious to deliver. Each one has to be delivered separately. This really bogs down the gameplay, but it's a necessary evil if you want to play some different mini-games, and you surely will, considering the lack of modes and gameplay elements.