Woolly Liberatalism: Flock Demo Out

By John Walker on March 28th, 2009 at 1:07 am.

Is there a mint sauce beam?

Proper Games’ Flock is due out on the 7th April. To find out if you’re excited by this news, there’s a six level demo that’s available as of today. We last mentioned Flock back in January, when some trailers appeared, and it immediately attracted readery attention, with people throwing out references to Tanktics and Sheep. The animal herding game, naturally using a UFO, is published by Capcom, and rather pleasantly comes out on PC a day ahead of the console download services.

Let us know your impressions from the demo. Mine went something like this: First three levels = ooh, this is cute and fun! Can’t wait to see what different puzzling techniques will appear with new beams. Level four: crap, this is fiddly and annoying. Levels five and six work fine, the cows fun to enrage, and the pinball pigs bouncing entertainingly, but level four worries me. The sheep were far too quick to charge off cliffs, and the herd AI didn’t seem to have any recognition of cleared paths. It would be a shame of many of the full 65 levels were like that. BUT, maybe I was just crap at it. Let us know if you think me a cack-handed idiot (in this instance, rather than just a big stream of posts about my general uselessness).

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37 Comments »

  1. Max says:

    I love the cutesy felt graphics but I found the game sluggish and clumsy to control. Perhaps it gets easier with practice, for a game called Flock, it was a pain in the ass herding as few as four or five sheep without them running off on their own and getting stuck or dying.

    I gave up by the time I had to start making paths through corn fields because my sheep kept on getting stuck. Damn annoying.

  2. Nero says:

    I also found the controls a bit odd, sorta floaty or whatever. I used both the mouse only thing and the keyboard but yeah I guess you get used to it.

  3. Darkflight says:

    Ok, so after being able to play it, it’s moved from “wow, that looks cool and fun to play” to “stop falling down the holes, you stupid sodding sheep, argh – no sale”

  4. Blather Blob says:

    I tried the demo when I noticed it on Steam, but gave up after the second level. I thought maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it and would try it later, but after reading four opinions in a row similar to what I was thinking, I don’t think I’m going to bother.

  5. Buemba says:

    As with most recent multiplatform games I had a much easier time using a 360 controller…

    It was a fun little demo, but the only thing that really stood out for me was the music. It’s not the type I’d want to put on my MP3 player, but it fits the game’s “sci-fi movie from the 50′s” motif very well and was quite catchy.

  6. Lim-Dul says:

    Hmm… The thing is that there was an (IMHO) much better game with almost the same premise. Replace the UFO with a (relatively) normal herder and you get this:

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/sheep

    No fancy physics but tighter controls and other goodies to make up for that – 9 years ago…

  7. DSX says:

    I’m going to say it, the controls are BAAAAAD…. Cute music though. Running them off of clifs and into holes is way too fun easy though.

  8. Persus-9 says:

    Well I quite enjoyed it and will definitely consider picking this up. Having has some experience of it in real life I think they actually captured the feeling and mechanics of herding sheep quite well in a whimsical sort of way.

  9. 2ds says:

    Didn’t work under vista 64 even with compatibility mode on and administrative access enabled. No sale.

  10. jon_hill987 says:

    Is the consensus that I should just install Sheep again? The artificial stupidity in that was brilliant, and I grew up on a sheep farm.

  11. bansama says:

    Indeed. I also immediately awoke fond memories of Sheep. And will probably try to reinstall it tonight (still have my CD of it with me).

    But for Flock? Well, the lack of mouse controls for the menu turned me off at first. I mean, what is this? The 1980s? Having mouse control for the menu in a PC game is an absolute MUST. The controls in the actual levels and the annoyingness of the suicidal lemmings sheep just killed the game for me completely.

    Sorry Capcom, your casual games have so far been found to be a little too lacking. Better luck next time?

  12. Nighthood says:

    I remember getting Sheep free with Alien Vs Predator. Weird combo, but I ended up playing Sheep more! <3 Sheep!

  13. Markoff Chaney says:

    Bah. That wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be. Controls are not precise and, while I’m loathe to say it’s a bad thing since it is technically accurate and makes sense, the UFO feels like it’s floating on air. While it may be floating on air, and maybe it should look like it and maybe it should feel like it but, as it stands, the controls and their feeling contribute to the detriment of the game.

    Oh well. At least I can get my RuneScape character to level eleventy on the cheap.

  14. Rob says:

    On topic though, similar issues to those up-thread, control system didn’t work quite as well as I hoped, and the sheep broke off on their own a little too easily. A shame, I was looking forward to a bit of mindless cute

  15. Ian says:

    Ned to have a crack at this. It’s been looking like gleeful nonsense for a while.

  16. Adam Dawes says:

    Looked fun, but I found it to be just frustrating and gave up after the first few levels. Shame.

    Worked fine on Vista 64 though.

  17. KBKarma says:

    I agree with Runescape powerlevelling: Sheep was around first. As well as this (as the Walker mentioned) Tanktics.

    I’ll try this once I have a free moment.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    The experience suited the 360 pad greatly. However whatever the control the ufo slid about like a roomba on a wooden floor polished with vaseline. And given its a puzzle game i’d rather solving the problems was harder than applying the solutions. I might well get it when i get through my backlog.

  19. dan- says:

    For some reason that screenshot reminds me of Wetrix.

  20. radomaj says:

    The pigs from level 6 are ewwwww!

  21. AndrewC says:

    Maybe it’s that the UFO moves a fraction bit too slowly that’s causing the problems? Frustration leads to trying to hurry it along, pushing the sheep too far in one go, which leads to sheep zooming off in funny directions?

    Well, that’s the only explanation I can give because going slow and steady I had no problems with saving all the sheep. I don’t know if it’s the right explanation though because I wasn’t standing behind your shoulders annoyingly offering advice.

    I does feel a bit like a Steam Sale game though?

  22. John Walker says:

    Lordy people, it was a spam message. We get hundreds of spam comments a day, and that was the first I’ve seen get past the filter in months and months. I’ve removed it now, and most of the references to it.

  23. Pod says:

    It’s pretty good. How much is the full version on Steam? I’d pay £10 for it. No more though.

  24. Rob says:

    @Pod

    £10.79, just outside your range

  25. Logo says:

    To me the problem was that the ‘sheep scaring’ range of the ufo was > 1 tile while the puzzles at the same time demand you moves the ship in a precise manner over 1 tile sized passages. The sheep also have the tendency to move multiple tiles when scared so when you have something like a square pen with 1 tile as an opening it becomes a chore more than fun to get the sheep to actually go through the opening rather than get stuck on the sides.

    Also if you needed to make the sheep go forward then take a turn before falling off a cliff it’s not really that possible. You scare them into going forward then aren’t really able to circle around and scare them the other direction that effectively. Usually as you circle around you’ll just scare them forward even more.

  26. Heliocentric says:

    @dan wetrix was fucking awesome.

    Funny that the n64 puzzler you mentioned was so precise. Whereas this is a sloppy mess. How is that 2 player coop? Networked or one box?

  27. cliffski says:

    I found this a bit too simplistic and easy to get bored with. I didn’t get the impression that more interesting or skilled challenges lied ahead.
    everything about the game screamed ‘conole game aimed at kids’, which isn’t a bad thing, but I like the idea of the game if it was done in a bit more depth.
    I’d prefer to be herding sheep with a dog tbh. And I’d prefer a lot more sheep.
    The music actually irritated me more than entertained. Plus the levelks were way too short. Too many games these days assume all players are idiots with the attention span of a goldfish,.

  28. Wildbluesun says:

    I think I’ll be buying this. The controls work a bit slowly, true (turning up mouse sensitivity helps), but it’s cute and fun and I was disappointed when the demo finished. Having to be patient with the sheep doesn’t bother me much.

    Sheep is much better, true that, but I’ve played through that two or three times now, so.

  29. Spine says:

    Played through the demo twice and might pick up the full release. Really like the music and visual design. Playing pinball with the pigs had me in stitches, and I loved the stampeding cows.

  30. Film11 says:

    The demo’s been available on Steam for quite some time. It’s a pretty good game, and I’d purchase it if it weren’t for this:
    3rd-party DRM: SecuROM™
    5 machine activation limit

    You can see it for yourself on the Steam page, right hand side under game details. Very disappointing.

  31. Caiman says:

    John, I think we realise that Mr Powerlevelling was a spam message. Thank you for reassuring us, though.

  32. Heliocentric says:

    What? Again! Bloody capcom. It’ll be cracked in a week but that doesn’t help genuine customers. Sort it out capcom. Thats 3 recent titles by them i’d buy without limited activations. Steam drm is perfectly sufficent.

  33. Jaffo says:

    Thought it was pretty good (used 360 pad rather than mouse and keyboard)

  34. Angel Dust says:

    I didn’t really have any troubles with the controls myself and I was using the mouse and keyboard. I would imagine that trying to do the levels in the fastest time would be quite difficult though. I might pick this up since it quite cheap and it’ll be a perfect game to play for short bursts.

  35. Mr Madnote says:

    I liked the game – loved the music. My only issue is that the ai dosent really adapt to how these animals herd in real life!!! as a farmer there are subtle differences in herding behaviour! now abviously this isnt a simulation BUT sheep do follow the leader – IE if one sheep gos through an opening 2 or 3 will follow, and them KABOOM all 100 – 200 will go and they are unstopable – so the whole art is in directing the leaders – thought some programming around this fact would have actually helped some of the control issues that i experienced without detracting from the game.

  36. Tom Lillis says:

    Have to agree with the complaint re: level 4. The sheep AI is as stupid as… well, actual sheep, I suppose. Hm.

    Regarding the controls, though, it’s pretty clearly designed to be played with a 360 controller. The PC control scheme seems extremely tacked on in comparison. C’est la vie.

  37. Krupo says:

    It’s on a pre-order sale now… but based on the comments I’ll probably pass, and because for less dollars I just picked up the Ubisoft 4-pack… oh man, I haven’t finished any of the other Steam sale shooters I got either. This is evil. :p