Counting sheep might be a perfect way to get to sleep, but keeping disobedient sheep in line when there are anvils and more falling from the sky is anything but relaxing.
Disobedient Sheep, from SicklyDove Games, is a frantic game about keeping your sheep safe against the odds. You play as a sheepdog (various adorable breeds and colours are available) tasked with the somewhat simple-sounding job of keeping sheep under control. It is a lot harder than it seems, though, because the sheep have zero loyalty to the player and will wander off if not kept in line. As well as this, there are various dangerous objects falling from above, ranging from large, blunt objects to colossal bombs.
I’ve been lucky enough to play a few sessions of Disobedient Sheep over the years, most recently at Game Anglia. Of its modes, I’ve found the co-operative mode to be the most fun, and the best to summon the fun shouting of party games. In co-op, you all work together to move the sheep away from obstacles, trying to keep a certain number alive for a difficulty-set amount of time. It’s the best example of the swarming nature of the sheep — with two dogs bearing down on them, they move extremely predictably, so any fault really falls to the humans.
In addition to the co-operative mode, there’s also an endless mode, a single-player mode and some versus modes. Versus modes frequently come down to power-ups as much as tact, with dog biscuits boosting player speed momentarily, and the added ability to call for anvils to hit your foes.
Aside from the impressive technology and cute dogs, perhaps the thing that sticks out the most about Disobedient Sheep is its accessibility and family-friendly nature. It is completely playable without any requirement of reading comprehension, and the danger in the game is of a children’s cartoon level.
Disobedient Sheep will release in September 2019 for PC, Mac and Linux.