At times searching for a good connect-x game on the iTunes App Store feels equivalent to searching for a pristine Susan B. Anthony coin in a overly wished wishing well. You know it’s there but you’ve got to dig through thousands of common pennies to find it. Placing Sheep Shift in this analogy, Sheep Shift is not a penny nor a shiny nickel (FYI: nothing tastes better than a lunch that you paid with wishing well money. Each bite tastes like a magical leprechaun dancing in your mouth), instead Sheep Shift is a tarnished Susan B. Anthony coin. All it needs is a little bit of polish for it’s greatness to shine through and become that coin you’re looking for.
Sheep Shift takes the connect-x genre into the land of sheep. The sheep are made up of several colours and must be grouped together. Unlike other matching games where the swapping of pieces has to be next to one another, Sheep Shift’s sheep (say that fast 10 times) can be swapped with one another anywhere on the field. Sheep Shift also takes a more liberal approach to combining sheep in any-which-direction (instead of straight lines)–which becomes a part of the games charm in later levels. As soon as four sheep are grouped together they disappear, perhaps becoming the shepherds dinner, and new coloured sheep fall into their place.
All this mixing and matching in Sheep Shift can be done in either Classic Mode or Action Mode. Let me be frank, Classic Mode is Dull. If Classic Mode lived in Dullsville people would gossip about Classic Mode’s dullness. Even though there’s tons of levels to progress through in Classic Mode, there is literally no challenge. You can’t loose…ever. You can always grab another sheep across the screen in order to line up yet another four sheep without the threat of ever loosing. Action mode is where the gameplay and structure comes into play, now you’ve got wolves in sheep’s clothing that you need to banish before x-amount of turns goes by. If you don’t take care of the wolf then your sheep will become the wolf’s nibblets.
Remember that tarnished coin? Well here’s a little bit more tarnish on the coin (this may be an easy fix for the developer). Playing through the first 8+ levels in Action Mode is beyond easy, offering very little chance to fail (if any). You can’t skip these levels nor can you change the difficulty. However once you get past these introductory levels, you’re in for real a treat. Now the once pointless anywhere-sheep-swapping becomes a core mechanic in order to progress. Instead of one wolf appearing in the heard giving you 10+ moves to get ride of him (generally only takes a turn or two) it becomes much more challenging. Now multiple wolves will appear on the screen including less moves to get rid of them. Now you need to swap sheep around trying to take out multiple wolves with one turn by matching the sheep with their colour. Focusing on only one wolf will be disastrous. This adds strategy and luster to distinguish it from other connect-x games on the app store.
The Bottom Line:
Sheep Shift is a great game that has some tarnish on it. Overtime, with a good polish, this may be one one the shiniest games in this genre. This is a free download and worth every cent.
Disclaimer: This App used the “Expedite Review” option.