Flockers (Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam)

Developer(s) – Team17

Lead Artist – Chris Black

A strategy game, Flockers plays out more or less identical to the game Lemmings, first developed by Psygnosis for the Amiga. The objective of the game is to lead as many of a designated flock of sheep as possible from one side of a 2 dimensional stage to the other. Though I do have my issues with this game, it does also have quite a bit of entertainment value, and I would ultimately recommend it.

Graphics – 7/10

The game is set in a world very reminiscent of what Team17 have been producing time and again for over 20 years; it’s wonderfully strange and outlandish. But at the same time, it’s also interesting to see how many references there are to games like Worms, such as the mines and oilcans at the bottom of a lot of the different stages. By that token, there’s also a somewhat darker and grittier feel about the scenery and style of the game than there is in Worms, with obstacles such as circular saws and spikes, but most notably, the inclusion of blood.

Gameplay – 7/10

Although Flockers does essentially play out exactly like the classic Lemmings games, there is a little bit more incentive to play through each level multiple times in the form of a high score system and s 3-star rating system similar to Angry Birds. As well as providing a very stern challenge, Flockers is also quite addictive too. It can be extremely satisfying to think of the best ways of getting round each obstacle using the most elaborate methods possible. I did find it a little bit difficult to get to grips with at first, but thankfully, there are more no unnecessary frustrations after that.

Controls – 10/10

After taking influence from a gameplay system very much established and perfected at this time, and also having worked on a port of the game themselves for the PlayStation Portable back in 2006, it was natural to assume there would be no issues with the control scheme, and so there isn’t any. It’s actually quite interesting to see how certain mechanics of both the Worms and Lemming series’ have been blended together by the developers to make Flockers.

Lifespan – 6/10

Given the game’s level of difficulty and abundance of different stages throughout, It would take players about 8 hours to rush through it, and then there would be cause to play through each level again to try and get all 3 stars, which would constitute to about 14 hours, which is fairly impressive for a game of this kind. However, there has been talk on the internet of the developers possibly adding a stage edit mode, which I think would increase the quality of the game, as well as it’s lifespan exponentially.

Storyline – N/A (10/10)

Like almost every other of Team17’s efforts, there is no ongoing narrative to Flockers, but only the basic premise of guiding a multitude of sheep from point A to point B. Like with many games like this that I’ve reviewed, I don’t feel that this title should lose out on marks for not having something that it didn’t need to begin with. The only element of story is told through the opening FMV introducing the game’s premise, and although it doesn’t the level of comic relief that Team 17 are most known for, like in the FMVs in Worms, I still don’t feel it deserves to lose any marks for so arbitrary a reason.

Originality – 4/10

The issue I have with this game however, is how unoriginal it is compared with many other of Team17’s past games. As far as I can tell, amidst the amount of strange locations and visuals styles they have employed in their titles, they have always shown signs of innovation in terms of gameplay. But with Flockers, I don’t think they have fully realized that, and brought it to light this time.

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In spite of the that however, while there may indeed be nothing original about the overall gameplay formula, Flockers is a fairly enjoyable game, and a must-have for any gamer looking for a legitimate challenge. It’s an evolutionary title as opposed it being revolutionary, and will serve as a viable source of nostalgia for those who may miss Lemmings, and want something new made in the same vein.

Score

44/60

7/10 (Fair)

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