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 and retro soundtrack, along with the horror theme, sets this game apart. However, it is also enjoyable enough that even players who are not necessarily into retro stuff will get hooked.

Gameplay: Straightforward to pick up and play, but some of the puzzles are downright devious.

Graphics: 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 of it

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Dark Sheep

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

There have been many variations of Sokoban since its release in 1982. However, we don’t know about a whole lot that has 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 eats the grass it passes. 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 manage to 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, such as the move counter, level number, and more, you want visible on your screen. Players who fondly remember the Commodore 64 will find the visuals very nostalgic, but it might be a bit of an acquired taste for modern gamers. Personally, 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.

Helping with the foreboding feel of the game is the soundtrack, made using a real, modified Nintendo Game Boy from 1989.

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 that it begins to grate 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 also has keyboard hotkeys for all of its functions, such as restarting a level or accessing the menus. There is also an “Undo” button, but it only cancels your last move, so players cannot abuse this feature to complete levels through trial and error. It is possible to skip a level if you are well and truly stuck, but you cannot skip two levels in a row. 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, players can also select levels from the main menu after unlocking them. The only thing absent is some type of level editor, which would have been great for increasing the game’s longevity. Strangely, there are four in-game achievements tied to completing each chapter, but these are not Steam Achievements.

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 on each chapter. The sheep in the game can only be pushed, not pulled, and if you manage to maneuver them into a dead end, there’s no choice other than to retry. This means that each move should be evaluated very carefully as the last thing you want is to start over when you are almost done with a level. Dark Sheep is a single screen game, but most of the later levels have multiple sections that have to 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, though, Dark Sheep is not that difficult and should only take about two to four hours to complete depending on your skill level. This really 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 not expecting 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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