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Game Info:

Dark Sheep
Developed By: Daisy Games
Published By: Daisy Games
Released: April 23, 2021
Available On: Windows
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $2.99

Thank you Daisy Games for providing us with a review code!

It’s pretty common to see many indie games these days take inspiration from those retro consoles, but for me, this is the first time that I’ve seen someone take insight from the Commodore 64 of all things. Dark Sheep is a little indie game created by Daisy Games, with the premise of herding sheep on a grid to clear the field.

For this review, we’re gonna do something a little different and talk about the morality of Dark Sheep at the beginning. It’s borderline impossible to discuss this one further without delving further into what makes Dark Sheep what it is without breaking the pace. When I previously stated that the main goal is to herd sheep—that is true, but going further into why it’s because the player character is part of a sacrificial cult. Their goal is to summon the dark lord and they attempt this by offering sheep for some kind of ritual (and yes, there are inverted pentagrams present). Due to the nature of this game, there is a lot of blood, death, and murder that has to take place.

Dark Sheep
Highlights:

Strong Points: Does a lot with the simple block-pushing concept
Weak Points: Visual flicker can be straining to the eyes
Moral Warnings: You play as a cultist who’s goal is to summon the dark lord; blood and sacrifice; inverted pentagram symbol

With that out of the way, Dark Sheep is specifically a block-pusher puzzle game. The sheep act as the game’s blocks and they have to feed on grass to fatten them up. Sheep cannot be pushed on already cleared grass so it’s your job to clear every panel on the screen. Dark Sheep is split between four chapters, with each one introducing new gimmicks to spice things up. In later levels, black sheep are introduced and they can only eat “red grass.” I do like how difficulty is handled as when new gimmicks are introduced, a few levels are simple so that you can get used to it. Levels can get pretty challenging, especially in the last chapter.

Controls couldn’t be any simpler. All movement is done by the arrow keys. It’s simple and responsive. There are other hotkeys to either restart the level or undo one action. These are also present on the HUD and can be clicked on with your mouse.

Dark Sheep
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay 15/20
Graphics 6/10
Sound 7/10
Stability 5/5
Controls 5/5

Morality Score - 61%
Violence 3.5/10
Language 10/10
Sexual Content 10/10
Occult/Supernatural 2/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 5/10

Being inspired by Commodore 64 means the visuals are going to be very retro. Personally, I’d say they’re more like Atari graphics or at least very early Commodore 64 graphics. I’m not too impressed by the visuals as I’ve seen better-looking Commodore 64 games. There’s also this weird flicker in the earlier levels that depict moving water, but the way it is animated puts a bit of strain on my eyes. The scenery is dark and foreboding and I do appreciate that aspect of it.

The musical score is few and far between. However, I feel it works well for what it is. Daisy Games stated that they used technology from 1989 so there is a distinct genuine feeling in the sound effects and tracks. The music can get slightly repetitive because only one score plays for each chapter and if you happen to get stuck on a chapter, you’ll be hearing the same track for a long time.

All in all, Dark Sheep is a pretty interesting experience. The subject matter is questionable and will filter out a good portion of this audience due to the many horror elements and the whole dark lord sacrificial stuff. It’s pretty unnerving—and that’s the point. The experience will take anywhere between two and five hours depending on how good you are at puzzles. If you can steel your resolve for that, an enjoyable call back to simpler times await you.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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