Sheepo (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Joshua Goldie 21.10.2021 1

Review for Sheepo on Nintendo Switch

The indie game scene is filled with 2D platformers, many of them falling into the 'Metroidvania' category with open-world elements and power-ups. Sheepo is one of those games and by looks alone it brings to mind the Ori series and Hollow Knight. However, Sheepo, the first commercial title by indie developer Kyle Thompson and published by Top Hat Studios Inc, does things a bit differently by focusing more on avoiding combat, and manoeuvrability. The goal isn't to make enemies or slaughter the local wildlife, it is in fact the complete opposite.

The story of Sheepo is about arriving on an alien planet and being tasked to collect six eggs belonging to the local inhabitants with the motivation being to preserve them before the planet dies out. This is plenty justification to explore and offers a goal to work towards. How to reach that goal is up to the player.

As a 'Metroidvania', open-world exploration is the name of the game for Sheepo and it has all the hallmarks of this genre such as the map design, item progression and optional or hidden content. This is where the similarities end however, as this title is not afraid to buck traditions through its game design.

For example, while the map is blocked off into the memorable squares that players will be familiar with from games like Castlevania Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid, the actual shape of the area in each square varies greatly. Rooms are sometimes massive while others can be tiny and it can leave the player guessing at when and where the exit to progress can be found.

Items are also unusual as there is no way to fight in this title. Instead the gameplay takes a page from an old classic, Silicon Valley, and has the player character transform into the local wildlife by getting close to them and hitting A. Each animal allows for a new form of movement, such as flying, digging or swinging and these make up the game's power-ups. They can only be accessed once an egg has been collected.

Screenshot for Sheepo on Nintendo Switch

The rest of the collectables are mostly just for that 100% score. Feathers are scattered around the map and while a certain amount are needed to reach the end, not all of them are required. These are obtained mostly through platforming challenges or puzzle rooms scattered around the map and really test the player's ability to use the power-ups to manoeuvre around obstacles. These challenges are well-paced to break up the progression and get suitably harder the further the game progresses.

This title is very well designed. It's not perfect as there are one too many slow wall jumping segments and while it doesn't do anything better than any of its contemporaries, the game makes up for it with lots of fun encounters. Boss battles are a good example of the way the game combines this fun with a challenge. They are not easy and the lack of combat means each fight turns into a bullet hell or difficult platforming challenge (or sometimes both).

Additional enjoyment can be found in the game's dialogue. It's quirky but not in a way that might make the player groan. There are some genuinely good lines from some of the game's NPCs that earn a chuckle and help to stop the tone of the game from getting too dark. Despite the looming threat of extinction from a planet that is dying, the local inhabitants, and even some of the non-threatening wildlife, are goofy in a charming way.

Screenshot for Sheepo on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Sheepo never gets boring throughout its three-hour run time. It was correctly paced and had some delightful moments, both in narrative and tone as well as platforming puzzles. While it does try to change some things up from its competitors, nothing it does is better than other games in the genre. This isn't bad though and fans of 'Metroidvanias' are in for an enjoyable time as it manages to scratch the itch for a 2D open-world platformer, even if it's only for a couple of hours.

Developer

Top Hat Studios

Publisher

Top Hat Studios

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Hey Josh - thanks for the excellent first review! I've just downloaded this now to check it out. Appreciate the recommendation Smilie

At the start, I noticed it says "Todays Mission" rather than "Today's Mission" Smilie I can't help but notice little things like that Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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