Dark Sheep
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Dark Sheep is an addictive block-pushing puzzle game that combines the classic Sokoban formula with some new elements. The Commodore 64 inspired visuals, retro soundtrack, and horror theme set this game apart. However, it is also enjoyable enough that even players not necessarily into retro stuff will get hooked.

Gameplay: Dark Sheep is straightforward to pick up and play, but some of the puzzles are downright devious.

Graphics: The visuals are very simple but true to the Commodore 64 era from which it draws inspiration.

Sound: The soundtrack is so good that we wished there was more

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Dark Sheep

Developer: Daisy Games | Publisher: Daisy Games | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Casual / Puzzle / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

Since its release in 1982, Sokoban has been reinterpreted many times. However, few have combined its gameplay with horror elements. Dark Sheep by Daisy Games is not just a block-pushing puzzle game in the vein of Sokoban but also a love letter to Commodore 64 gaming.

As the newest member of an unholy cult, players are tasked with kidnapping sheep destined as sacrifices to the Dark Lord. These sheep have to be carefully herded across patches of grass in true Sokoban style, but the twist is that the sheep also eat the grass they pass. This means that two sheep cannot take the same path, which allows for more devious puzzles.

Dark Sheep is split into four chapters, with ten levels each, and these become progressively more challenging as well as more disturbing. Initially, you are simply herding around fluffy white sheep, but they are soon joined by the darker brethren that can only eat their own type of grass. Then, before you know it, your character is involved in murder and evil rituals involving pentagrams and Ovis aries.

Since the game uses an art style that mimics early Commodore 64 games, the horror elements aren’t exactly scary. However, the basic sprites and limited color palette actually make the whole experience pretty creepy. Dark Sheep doesn’t have a lot of visual elements, but players can enable features such as particle effects and a rather nifty CRT mode. It is also possible to choose which of the HUD elements you want visible on your screen, such as the move counter, level number, and more. Players who fondly remember the Commodore 64 will find the visuals very nostalgic, but it may be an acquired taste for modern gamers. We liked the art style but stopped noticing how basic it was as soon as we got sucked into the puzzles. Dark Sheep runs on the Godot Engine, and we didn’t experience any technical issues while playing.

The soundtrack, made using a real, modified Nintendo Game Boy from 1989, helps create the game’s foreboding feel.

The soundtrack is excellent, but it’s a pity that there is only one music track for each of the four chapters in the game. We really enjoyed the music, but some players might find it grates on the ears if they are stuck on a level for too long. For added authenticity, the sound effects of Dark Sheep were also made using SID chip emulation, which is a neat touch. Players can adjust the music and sound volume independently, as well as the master volume.

Anyone who has played Sokoban or one of its many imitators over the years should feel immediately at home with Dark Sheep. It is played using only the four arrow keys to move your character up, down, left, or right. Players can also use a mouse, but it’s completely optional as the game has keyboard hotkeys for all its functions, such as restarting a level or accessing the menus. There is also an “Undo” button, which was changed from single-use to unlimited after release to make the game less punishing. It is possible to skip a level if you are well and truly stuck, and an update changed this from being unable to skip two levels in a row to unlimited skips. The 40 levels on offer go by very quickly once you get hooked on the game, so we recommend that players keep trying to complete a tricky level instead of taking the easy way out. However, after unlocking them, players can also select levels from the main menu. The only thing absent is some type of level editor, which would have been great for increasing the game’s longevity. The developer added Steam Achievements to the game as part of one of the updates. 

Dark Sheep keeps track of how many moves players use to complete each level, and there is also a par number to aim for if you want an extra challenge. We also liked the inclusion of a scoreboard to keep track of your best attempts in each chapter. The sheep in the game can only be pushed, not pulled, but if you manage to maneuver them into a dead end, you can use the undo feature to rectify your mistake. This makes the game more accessible as before the update if you already use your single undo you would have no choice, but to restart the level if you messed up. Dark Sheep is a single-screen game, but most later levels have multiple sections that must be completed in a specific order. The new obstacles and mechanics introduced in each chapter prevent the game from becoming dull, and some of the later levels really tested our skills. Overall, Dark Sheep is not that difficult and should only take about two to four hours to complete, depending on your skill level. This isn’t bad, considering the low asking price for the game.

Sokoban is one of those games that has stood the test of time, so we knew that we would have fun with Dark Sheep, but we were surprised to find out how engrossing this game can become. The somewhat macabre theme of the game might deter some players, but anyone who enjoys a good mental workout will have a blast with Dark Sheep. The difficulty level is pitched just right to prevent it from becoming frustrating, and the ability to instantly retry a level if you mess up is handy. We would have loved to see more levels or even a level editor, but as it is, Dark Sheep should definitely not be missed if you are a puzzle fan.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.1
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Processor: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 3.3
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Processor: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.1
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Processor: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 3.3
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Any distribution
  • Processor: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 2.1
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Processor: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Graphics: Support for OpenGL 3.3

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