Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: 'Color Sheep' by Trinket Studios


Let's face it: a lot of video games are weird.  Not so much nowadays, with plenty of games being military shooters, or sci-fi shooters, or manly action games of the Dudebro variety.  But back in the day, where you had to save a girl from a gorilla just because, where you jousted on ostriches, when people just kind of accepted that sure, this blue, fast thing was a hedgehog, creativity bordered on the absurd.  While games such as that might be the exception rather than the rule, but with indie developers stepping up their game (zing!) we’ve seen that weirdness come back, and there might not be anything that personifies that more than Trinket Studios’ Color Sheep.

The premise of Color Sheep is pretty straightforward.  You play as Woolson, the titular sheep, and brightly colored wolves make their way across the screen.  Using a combination of RGB (red, green, blue) and light/dark buttons, you must color Woolson accordingly and shoot lasers from your mouth (because why not?) to wipe out your attackers.  It sounds simple, but once you get into different shades and combining colors as a wider variety of wolves set down upon you you’ll find yourself with your back against the ropes more than once.  You’ll get occasional power-ups to help you out but for the most part you’re on your own.

Color Sheep looks great.  As you might expect from a game with this title, everything is vibrant and expressive.  There’s a cartoony aesthetic that fits in well with the theme, from the adorable Woolson to the menacing wolves.  Wolves explode into skeletons when dealt with and even that looks cute.  Animations are clean and fluid and the backgrounds are colorful and add a lot to the levels without taking away from the main action.  The music is bouncy and fun, and between old school sound effects like lasers and “worries” Woolson you’ll find yourself enjoying their contribution to the gameplay.

Make no mistake: this game is tough.  Like, really tough.  Like, too tough for its own good sometimes.  One death and you’re done for, and that means going back to the beginning of the game.  The sense that you’ve accomplished something can be minimal, which is a shame since that saps some of the fun from the game and replaces it with frustration.  Since the release of Color Sheep, though, Trinket has addressed some of these problems: items carry over between stages, and selectable difficulty levels means you can play without ripping your hair out.  These have done wonders to strike a balance between deep gameplay and “pick up and play” sessions, and it’s nice to see a studio tweak a game after listening to their customers.

Despite any faults it might have, Color Sheep is definitely a unique, worthwhile endeavor that you should check out.  It has a balance of cerebral-but-quick-thinking gameplay and charm not often found in games these days.  Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual one, the solid base and subsequent improvements put in place by Trinket Studios makes Color Sheep shine.

www.trinketstudios.com/

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