It was in the shower this morning that I had a revelation. The game I had tried out last night (Sheep Slinger) had a major flaw... you could just play and play and play with no fear of death. What kind of witty analogy would I use? Space Invaders without bombs? Pac Man without ghosts? But first, back to Sheep Slinger...
Sheep Slinger is a simple game that actually borrows the whole sling shot concept from games like Steel Shot, but instead gives you two slings (lower left and right). It then keep everything on the screen, throws in some barn yard animals and some funky Deliverance style banjo music for a twisted take on the shoot 'em up genre. In Sheep Slinger you have flying pings scrolling across your screen while sheep voluntarily sacrifice themselves as ammo for your slings. The sheep hop on your slings and you just have to pull back and release in an attempt to pick off the flying, purple pigs from the sky.
The graphics are decent and the sound good, assuming you don't dislike banjo music as I do. The controls are perfect and use the touch screen well. The scrolling is smooth and the game includes basic instructions, but omits such information as what it takes to beat the bosses... what the number along the bottom of the screen is that the boss seems to be reducing. What does everyone astute enough to recognize the need for instructions also think their game can be summarized in 8 words or less? Less rules = good. Missing rules = bad.
But the core problem with this game is that it's way too easy in addition to being repetitive. The repetitive nature makes me classify it as more of an arcade game which means it needs to be hard, or, at least, a way to make it hard (i.e. difficulty levels). My shower revelation was incorrect... you're trying to meet a quota to get past the current level and on to the next level. However, when you're firing at the pigs you're in no danger (other than the need to accumulate a certain number of hits) and I had little difficulty in killing the bosses... at least early on (I admittedly got bored pretty quickly). This is another game that shows that the developers are competent and talented programmers, but that needs more in the realms of game design. Maybe if you're looking for something really easy and cute for the kids this is right on target, but for gamers that want to be challenged this is a miss even at the low cost of a buck. Having to say that makes me sad because the game is really quite well executed. 3/5 stars.