Team17′s Flockers Is Basically Lemmings

By Alice O'Connor on March 29th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Wake up, sheeple

Oh, how excited Worms, Worms 2, Worms Armageddon, Worms World Party, Worms Blast, Worms 3D, Worms Forts, Worms 4, Worms: Revolution, Worms: Clan Wars, and Worms Crazy Golf developers Team17 were when they announced they were making something new. “The most important game we’ve worked on in over a decade,” they called the “explosive new IP” Flockers. What could so excite the developer also behind eight Alien Breed games? Lemmings. Flockers is pretty much a new take on Lemmings, the classic nineties puzzler from DMA Design (before it became the hip and trendy Rockstar).

Yesterday’s revelation of the game teased earlier this month is a little anti-climatic, then, but still! Let’s have a look at what we’ve got.

A handful of screenshots show hordes of sheep milling about aimlessly, in typical Lemmings style, needing careful deployment of powerups like leaping and climbing to move sheepies through towards the level’s goal. Flockers’ industrial world (a Worms weapon factory, of course) looks a mite more dangerous than Lemmings’ landscapes though, bristling with spikes, buzzsaws, blades, and squishers. And there’s something going on with Tetris-y blocks.

Culling the flock

Flockers is due to arrive on Steam Early Access some time from April to June. But lo, you can play it this very weekend if you pay a little visit to EGX Rezzed in Birmingham.

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50 Comments »

  1. Tom Walker says:

    Well, that’s unimaginative.

    Still, though, I’m interested. For such a classic game it’s been oddly under-plagiarised during the 21st Century. It’ll be good to see what they can do with it in this day and age.

    • The Random One says:

      My thoughts as well. It may be derivative, but it’s derivative of something that’s gona away and I’d like to see coming back. Since I don’t think Rockstar will be making any new Lemmings… well, they did make Table Tennis, so maybe they’ll work on it after they’re done with a Space Station: Silicon Valley reboot.

    • SuddenSight says:

      Really?

      I will preface by admitting I have never played the original, and games like lemmings tend to annoy me, but I feel like I see at least one imitator per year.

      Just looking around we have:
      Dibble (free and online with multiple sequels)
      Clones (seems reasonably liked, released in 2010)
      Spirits (same as above, I guess 2010 was a good year for lemmings-likes)
      Kahoots (for the iOS among you, 2011 release)

      And some that use similar ideas, such as Rush (a 2010 -again!- Two Tribes game) and Chu Chu Rocket (which has competitive multiplayer).

      Unless that isn’t enough lemmings games? I admit 1 was enough for me, and I’m kind of surprised I knew of so many. Have you played all of them and still felt the itch for more? Or is there some feature of the original lemmings that still hasn’t been recreated?

      • bills6693 says:

        Hmm, the only one out of that I played was spirits and it didn’t scratch the lemmings itch.

        The others – competitive multiplayer? free flash games? not really what I am looking for in a lemmings game. Might have been good but don’t think they would have been good enough.

        I’m gutted I didn’t look at this while at Rezzed today, it was my only day going and didn’t realise what it was or I would have investigated!

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          As I recall from the halcyon days of my youth playing Lemmings on the Amiga, there was competitive multiplayer in that too… Played on split-screen with two mice. (Possibly also a serial cable option…)

          The premise was you had lemmings of two different colours, and could only control your own ones, but the goal was to get as many of both colours through your exit point as possible. Played a couple of times and found that it was far too easy to disrupt the flow for one another – most levels would end up with few if any lemmings making to either exit amidst the sobotaged bridges and general mayhem.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            I saw a video the other day of a couple of guys rebuilding an A500+ back to working order… By which I mean not being able to play about half the games.

    • valrus says:

      I like to imagine sometimes what the games landscape would be if entirely different games had given birth to whole genres. My favorite game to do this with is Lemmings, imagining an industry where protecting small animals became expected “default” video game. I imagine RPS articles mocking the same ol’ SAP (small animal protector) conventions, and heralding innovative SAP hybrids that add (say) loot cycles, RPG progression, etc.

      Even in this universe, I would play the hell out of Procedural Death Lemmings.

      • jonahcutter says:

        There’s a remote island way out in the Pacific where RTSs died out after Dune and no one ever made another FPS after Wolfenstein. Out there, there was never Medal of Honor nor Warcraft games. There you will find your Small Animal Protector genre and assorted variations. In fact, the Land of Lemmings MMO is still going strong a full decade after it was released.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          I got up early this morning especially to come and tell you, Valrus, that you are my most very favourite person and your ideas need to be listened to at the very highest planetary governmental levels. And Bill Oddie.

          Small Animal Protector genre is a thing that needs to happen RIGHT NOW. I have a nurturing itch that needs scratching and only a small, trembling fluffy and vulnerable round thing with massive cheeks (but imperiled by spikes) will do.

      • Geebs says:

        Suicidal Animal Protector, surely?

    • Racb1976 says:

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      http://www.Gawkjob.com

  2. d3vilsadvocate says:

    I’ll probably buy this if it’s good. But only once. I can already tell that I won’t care about the 265 sequels that will follow.

    And yes, they are really lacking in the imagination department…

  3. Bent Wooden Spoon says:

    Sorry, but this whole article just comes across as needless snark.

    I won’t deny Team 17 have been creatively bankrupt for ages, but given the fawning over numerous nostalgia-twanging Kickstarters over the last couple of years (which I’m actually completely behind, for what it’s worth), it seems a bit ridiculous to dump all over a company for reincarnating a gametype we (probably just me actually, my phone costs $10 and I don’t play Flash games) haven’t seen since I owned a DX4-100.

    Lemmings was a good game. I haven’t played a Lemmings clone since the late 90s. Maybe this’ll be okay; at least on par with Space Hulk, which resulted in Alec initially locking his keyboard in place with excitable man glue. Sure, it’s being made by a dev that’s crapped out the same cookie-cutter formula since just after I grew pubes, but in this case that actually might prove to be a benefit. At least give them a chance before twisting the knife.

    That said, it probably will be complete mince.

    • JohnnyPanzer says:

      To be fair, the snark is directed at the way they’ve tried to hype it as a new, groundbreaking and completely original idea. Wastelands 2 wasn’t sold as an original concept, if you catch my drift.

      Still, I have no complaints. Lemming was great and it’s been sorely lacking in the reboot department.

      • Caiman says:

        To be fairer, this is based on a handful of screenshots? Perhaps it is just a Lemmings clone, but what are those Tetris-y blocks? Perhaps, just maybe, Team 17 have found a way of spicing up the basic Lemmings gameplay in a new and innovative way that’s worth trumpeting? It could equally just be all hot air, but honestly let’s wait until someone actually gets their hands on the thing first.

    • Fenix says:

      Well, it’s well deserved. Team 17′s mliking endeavors on Worms make the likes of CoD and Assassin Creed look very good.

  4. DrScuttles says:

    Maybe they’re finally seeing to their Worms problem. It was putting everyone off a bit, I think. All those Worms.

    Then again I want a new Alien Breed with Hotline Miami controls so I’m likely part of the problem when it comes to developers trading on nostalgia.

  5. Lemming says:

    It also appears to be the final scene in Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave.

    Team17 have been running on fumes for years

  6. ran93r says:

    I had a small glimmer of hope that they would blow us all away with something new. Now I have none.

    Plus I still can’t get the last worms working on Steam with an Xbox controller.

    • Lemming says:

      Not to worry, I’m sure Worms: Steam+Xbox Controller Edition is mere months away.

  7. LionsPhil says:

    Rather than this, get (Holiday) Lemmings (2) running in your emulator of choice.

    Hmm. Must try Lemmings 3D in DOSBox again some time. It was an interesting spin on the whole thing, and probably the series’ only attempt to actually do truly 3D puzzles.

    • Velko says:

      Indeed, Lemmings 3D was a new spin, and an influential one. So influential in fact, that Mojang based the art style of their new game “Minecraft” on it!

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Lemmings 3D and lemmings paintball were truly interesting. Lemmings 3D belonged to that phase when 3D camera controls hadn’t quite coalesced into the holy trinity of FPS, 3rd person and RTS that we expect today. Lemmings paintball was received as more of a “lite” lemmings game but really had some cool puzzles.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I think All New World of Lemmings, and the Lemmings on the PS3 that followed went down the wrong path with the idea of collecting abilities as powerups. One of the coolest things about original Lemmings was that you had all the tools you needed, in many cases for multiple solutions, but seeing the path you were supposed to take was difficult without trial and error. A bit of that is lost when you can see straight away that you have to visit certain parts of the map in a certain order.

  8. NoQuartersRequired says:

    Lemmings was a solid game, but it’s just not the same without the bobbing fluffy green hair.

  9. Syra says:

    Flocking hell, it’s about time Team17 stopped trying to worm their way onto my devices and did something a bit n-ewe, even if it is just following small rodents off an Icelandic cliff.

    • sinister agent says:

      I dunno, they’ve been rehashing the same Artillery clone for 20 years, and personally I’m not looking forward to being fleeced again.

      • Ahkey says:

        There’s no pulling the wool over our eyes this time.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          I’ve a feeling if they cut their project in two, it might grow a head of the competition.

          Though by the looks of it, this one is just a clone of the original. (Cookie for anyone who gets the reference)

  10. sinister agent says:

    To be honest I am surprised there hasn’t been an actual Lemmings game in the last couple of years. Even a lot of not-really-into-games people I know loved and will still namedrop Lemmings.

    Also you forgot Worms: Director’s Cut. Which was my favourite one, as it had all the options it should have had in every game, like tweaking every weapon individually, so you could turn the shotgun into the Finger of God.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Worms 2 had that. You could do things like make the bazooka have huge splash (and soil-destroying) radius but do tiny amounts damage.

      And it still had the intro comics, and was the first to go to the vector art style they proceeded to lean on for years afterward.

    • RobF says:

      I think it’s consumed into the Sony machine when they got Psygnosis so I doubt we’ll see one any time soon. Funnily enough Team 17 did the last ports I know of for the PSP/PS3 a while back.

  11. RobF says:

    I’d be quite partial to a new take on Lemmings, just this one doesn’t really seem to hit any “ooh, I’d like to play that” buttons for me at all. The single handedly unfunny trailer didn’t help.

    I dunno. Maybe it plays better than it looks?

  12. Delicieuxz says:

    Has Team17 done anything worth earning them credit in their entire existence? Worms wasn’t created by them, and they bought the project. The last Worms game which was developed under the direction of its original creator was Worms Armageddon – the last good Worms game (World Party is touched up Armageddon). Since then, nothing remarkable has come out of the Team17 doors. Their success is due to catching someone else’s good project, once, and they have never earned their keep – imo.

    Now they’re clone-stamping another company’s IP… I think Team17 should hand off the Worms IP to someone who will be more faithful with it. All Team17 have done is release content-stripped versions of the superior game that once was – despite it being the easiest game in the world to get right. They just don’t have the thought-talent at the studio to even recognize what it is that makes the Worms games, and I expect that to hold true for any other game they try.

    • sinister agent says:

      Alien Breed was pretty good for its time, and they did some decent, though not particularly great games in the early 90s. Which is about as nice a thing as can be said about them, sadly.

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      Team17 have been creatively dead for an awfully long time. The last two or three PC Worms games were tolerable but bordering on being absolutely abysmal.

      Even as good as Armageddon was, it was pretty much the same game as Worms 2 with a handful of additions and some cheat only weapons brought into the main game. It also lost the in-depth as fuck weapon configuration tools.

  13. Shadowcat says:

    “Wake up, sheeple” ?

    https://xkcd.com/1013/

  14. TheTingler says:

    It should be pointed out that Team 17 actually made the last Lemmings game for Sony-only consoles, where it was quite well received. After this we definitely hit a Kickstarter-like scenario where Sony won’t make another Lemmings, certainly not for systems that use a mouse, so Team 17 just go “screw it, we’ll make our own”.

    I’m happy, frankly.

  15. Memphis-Ahn says:

    So with a new (Team17) Lemmings and a new (Petroglyph) Perimeter, when can we expect a new Metal Fatigue?

  16. buzzmong says:

    Hopefully this’ll give them enough cash that they can do an up to date Project-X.

  17. Big Murray says:

    You forgot Worms Pinball.

  18. Johnny Go-Time says:

    Try Clones! http://store.steampowered.com/app/72400/
    Built around Lemmings-as-a-deathmatch, and you can tell by the name they wore their heart on their sleeve.