Everything you do, it’s all for the better.
On our worst days, many of us will still try to help others if we can. It’s human nature. We find ourselves protecting each other and the nature around us. After all, the animals and the plants were here before us. We’re responsible for how our world looks and feels and we live our lives doing the best we can to make sure that we leave a positive mark.
Sheepo, developed by Kyle Thompson, is a simplistic Metroidvania title that has players taking on the role of the titular Sheepo. He’s tasked with collecting eggs from six different species of creatures to help populate an intergalactic species database to keep the creatures from becoming extinct. You land on a new planet and, after a brief tutorial teaching you how to jump and traverse obstacles, you are given pretty much free reign. At first, the world is dark and strange-looking. The obstacles are easy enough to get through and you’ll learn a few new mechanics as well.
One of the most interesting abilities you’ll learn early on in Sheepo is teleportation. Dotted around the world are glowing white orbs. Jumping into those orbs and clicking the corresponding button makes your character essentially jump into it. Then, you can choose the direction you’d like to jump. You can use this to reach higher platforms or jump from orb to orb to get across large gaps. This mechanic can be a little difficult to master, but once you do, it makes for an easy way to get across diverse terrain. As you progress, you’ll come across other forms of orbs and such that will help you move quickly through Sheepo’s levels.
What’s really intriguing about Sheepo is that the titular character can shapeshift. Once he’s rescued an egg by defeating the ‘boss’ that protects it on each level, he can assume the form of whatever creature he took. The first creature you’ll collect is a bird, and shifting into its form makes it so you can reach higher places without the assistance of teleportation orbs. The downside is that you can’t use these abilities whenever you want; you can only use them when the corresponding animal is out in the wild. Thankfully, the animals always show up when you need them.
As you gain new abilities, you’ll be able some backtracking to find secrets and collectible feathers. Eventually, you’ll unlock a type of fast travel so you won’t have to spend ages traversing back through the levels just to snag a few bonus items. Backtracking can get tedious, but it is worth doing, because if you gather enough collectible features you can spend them on items later on. It’s not necessary though, as none of the items you can buy are essential to complete the game.
As far as Sheepo‘s story and environment go, things are a little lacking. Traversing the world is fun, as is collecting up different species and learning new abilities; but the planet itself is pretty barren. You’ll come across a few NPCs here and there and the helpful tutorial voice is quirky, but overall Sheepo‘s world feels empty. Many of the areas look so similar that it’s hard to tell if you’re somewhere new or if you’ve accidentally backtracked to an area you’ve been through already.
Sheepo is a charming game, although its lack of variety in environments means it might outstay its welcome as the end draws near. Its gameplay is enjoyable and easy to pick up, however, and the fact there’s no combat makes this a great starting point for anyone new to the Medtroidvania genre. If you’re looking for a quirky adventure, Sheepo is worth picking up, but just don’t expect too much substance.