When someone suggests being weary of a game due to its addictive nature, I recommend that you listen to them. I received exactly this warning from not one but two friends, Kim and Rich, the lovely editors of GameSpew.com themselves, just before jumping into the game.
Even with their warning, Clouds and Sheep 2 by Handy Games sucked me in, at first for only an hour or so at a time, and then my spring break happened where I didn’t have to worry about leaving my apartment – and hours upon hours of sheep maintenance soon ensued. Coming off of a four-hour binge now (surprisingly not my longest stretch with the game) I’m able to take a break and warn any readers just as I was warned myself – CAUTION: This game will suck away all of your free time and make your family members worry about your mental stability.
Clouds and Sheep 2 is, in a nutshell, a farm maintenance game where the only thing that you have to maintain is your sheep population. Starting with one single sheep, you build your way up to a large sheep empire, taking special care of each and every one of your wooly babies. Simple right? Oh, my friends, you couldn’t be more wrong.
There’s a lot more that goes into caring for a flock of animated sheep than what you might think. You have to feed them, make sure they have water, and keep them happy. You also have to encourage them to have babies by planting flowers and coaxing them into eating them, which makes them fall in love… you know, like all real relationships. There’s a tonne of things to do during each day of Clouds and Sheep 2, and before you know it, a week of in-game time will have passed and you’ll have ten sheep who are all hungry, thirsty, and bored. Even with these bits of sheep maintenance there’s always additional quests to take care of as well, such as “let a sheep ride a sled” or “fulfill a sheep’s secret wish”. You’ll never be without something to strive towards.
When it comes to caring for your sheep, you can utilise the clouds that are constantly floating by your farm. Combining white fluffy clouds together turns them into rainclouds, which in turn grows grass and weeds across your farm. Your sheep find these green morsels delicious and are happy to eat them. Be careful how big your cloud gets though – if you combine too many, it can create a thunderstorm. Lightning can electrocute your sheep, making them sick – and you know what they say, a sick sheep doesn’t make soft wool. Or maybe I just made that up?
As you expand your sheep family, you’ll want to grow your farm so that everyone has enough room. In order to do this you’ll have to pay. Where does the money come from? From shearing your sheep, of course. Once your sheep are happy and healthy – and nicely big and woolly – you can start shearing the wool from them. The other form of currency you use throughout the game are stars, which your sheep give to you a few times a day to show you that you’re doing a good job. Every time you expand your farm you to have to pay, but the more sheep you have, the easier it becomes to earn money. It all goes hand-in-hand. Soon you’ll have a huge sheep family living on a huge farm and you’ll forget all about your laundry, the dishes slowly piling up in your sink, and your roommate who left her key on the table whom you’ve locked out and can’t hear knocking over the “baaaaa’s” from your new sheep family.
By far my favourite part of Clouds and Sheep 2 is the ability to move locations. You start off on a farm but eventually you can move your sheep to other settings, including a beach and a winter wonderland complete with sleds and snowmen. Each location has its own items specific to that area, and each one is as colourful and fun as the last. I found this to a be a great addition to keep you from getting bored of the same old scenery.
Clouds and Sheep 2 is admittedly a lot like many other farm maintenence games out there, but what it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for enjoyable gameplay. It is truly an addicting game, with brilliant character and environmental design that creates a very bright and colourful world. It will keep you entertained for many more hours than you’ll be willing to admit. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.