If you are a big fan of Shaun the Sheep, then this game is a definite must play. Shaun, Timmy, and Shirley are presented in glorious 2D sprites that are very intricately animated (as opposed to the usual 3D look they have). But even if you have no clue what series this game is based on, the puzzle elements should be more than enough reason to try it out and enjoy. Besides, the visual presentation, especially the sprite animation, is incredibly well done. It is a gaming treat in terms of gameplay and presentation.
Three Sheep, One Goal
In this game, players have to guide Shaun, Timmy, and Shirley from one end of the stage to another (marked with a post). By pressing 1, 2, or 3, you can select which sheep to control with the directional or WASD keys. All three share the same controls, except that their sizes are different, so they each move a little bit differently.
The default sheep you command is Shaun -the middle sized sheep assigned to button 2. He is fast, light, and medium sized. His medium build lets him push non-heavy stuff out of the way and he is able to move the fastest of all three. Timmy, assigned to 3, is a small sheep that is able to squeeze through small passages and is so light that he can be launched by other players. Shirley, assigned to key 3, is a big sheep that is larger than Shaun, is slow and heavy, but is able to pretty much push anything out of her way.
Solving the game's puzzles and getting to the goal will require making use of all three different character's traits to the fullest. While this is not much noticeable or applicable at the start of the game, it becomes important later in the game.
15 Levels of Ovine Goodness
The game consists of 15 levels of progressing difficulty. This is a great challenge for players new to the genre of puzzle platforming, but those of you used to the genre should finish in about thirty minutes or less. The great thing about the challenge curve here is that the game allows players to turn on hints or not. While Home Sheep Home does not spoon feed the answers, it allows players to slowly grasp the importance of various elements in the stage that will help them get to the goal. The good news is that there are actually multiple ways of solving the stage so doing a bit of trial and error can also help you find faster ways of solving stuff.
Take the challenge where Shirley is the only one who can push her way past giant safety deposit boxes -if you quickly alternate between her and Shaun, you can have Shaun tail her very closely as she pushes the first box away. When the second box falls on Shaun, just have him hop around as you nudge him forward and he will be able to push through as well.
Some stages are a little trickier (and more random) than the others. The best example of this is the one where you have to bounce cabbages off a trampoline -the physics is a little dodgy in the game, and if you don’t position everything just right, getting the cabbages to go where you need them to can be a frustrating experience. The good thing is that you only need a couple of cabbages to bounce properly to reach the goal and you are given plenty to start with.
Quick Fun, Good Times
The game gets a good amount of replay value for the simple reason that the puzzles are quite challenging and there is a sense of achievement when you come back to a stage and beat your previous time record. Being able to switch fast and accurately between all three sheep is important if you want to move faster and more efficiently. It is not all about the challenge though, the game's visuals are very well animated. Even the 'just standing' animations look great -and they are even more so. If you use one of the sheep to jump on top of another or bump into them, they visually react by looking at the other sheep or changing their facial expressions. All the various elements of the game feel vibrant and alive. Overall, gameplay and presentation-wise, this is a great title for both fans of Shaun the Sheep or those who love our little and many times forgotten fluffy little white friends who don't feature in so many unique and worthwhile casual games.