It’s the Year of the Sheep, and Divide by Sheep is the most anticipated sheep-based game of the year! We first saw Divide by Sheep at tinyBuild’s awesome booth at PAX South – but the crawling hive of gaming activity at the booth prevented us from getting much hands on time. Mike from tinyBuild was nice enough to get us a demo to check out, and after a few minutes of launching sheep through the air, we couldn’t put it down.
A breath of fresh fur
Off the bat I can say that Divide by Sheep is hard to describe in terms of other games you’ve played – and this is an awesomely good thing. In spite of their warts I love the Match-3 puzzling of Candy Crush Saga or Puzzle and Dragons, but those games are in every way built on the shoulders of many Match-3 titles before them, and that makes them to an extent lesser. In contrast, Divide by Sheep is both a fantastically unique mobile experience and a solid puzzling title that is among the best we’ve seen in the genre.
Maths + Puzzling = Win
Your objective in Divide by Sheep is to get a certain number of sheep (and later other creatures) onto a life raft, in a certain order. The sheep start on small islands, and various mechanics are introduced throughout the game that effect how sheep get from one island to another. In the process, many sheep meet there end through one means or another… and hence their numbers are divided.
The experience of playing Divide by Sheep to me is a good balance of planning, experimentation, and what I’ll call “sheep mischief”. In most levels you’ll need to at least rough out the sequence of moves you’ll execute to accomplish the objective. In some cases you’ll encounter new mechanics, and it may take some trial and error to figure out how they work. In the end though, even when you fail there is a level of “sheep mischief” satisfaction when you send excess sheep careening into the ocean or to some other unfortunate fate. Sort of like figuring out you can’t win a level of Lemmings and then initiating mass spontaneous combustion. I sometimes enjoyed doing that more than winning, and I think the same could be said for Divide by Sheep’s mechanisms for excess sheep removal.
If you like puzzlers and new takes on the puzzling genre, this game is a must play. Stay tuned for a release date sometime in the Year of the Sheep (2015).