Metroidvania. Is it becoming an overused word? Have any gameplay mechanic be required to continue progress on your quest and it instantly gets labelled metroidvania, be it 2D or not. This isn’t a criticism of Sheepo, but as a 2D platformer labelled as a metroidvania too, will it be dismissed by those tired of the word?

All I am saying is it absolutely shouldn’t be dismissed; Sheepo is good. Very good.

sheepo review 1

Sure, there is an interconnected world that you must explore in 2D, and there are certain areas which you can only reach with certain abilities,  but it is so much more than this basic description.

In Sheepo, the world is ending. But rather than try and stop this from happening, Sheepo has been tasked with gathering up the eggs of the six remaining animal species on the planet Cebron. But, for every egg they collect, they can harness the power of the animal inside it, using them to reach the otherwise inaccessible areas of the map.

Sheepo features no combat; there are bosses who guard the eggs, but you will have to figure out how to defeat them without pummelling away at them. Other than these, the only dangers you will face will be environmental. You can run, jump and use the animal powers you’ve unlocked to help you get around this world. Find a LongBird egg and you can temporarily fly, or a Spineworm egg which grants you the ability to dig underground.

And movement is buttery smooth. Controlling Sheepo is incredibly intuitive and easy to pick up. Simply put, Sheepo will go where you want them to go without any fuss, and not just in their generic form. All forms feel natural and can be easily controlled, most of which is done with only two buttons and a thumbstick.

sheepo review 2

That isn’t to say that Sheepo isn’t without a challenge. With three difficulties to choose from, the platforming does get a bit tricky in places. There are long sections where you will need to chain together jumps and transformations to reach your destination, but thankfully save points are never too far away.

Around the halfway stage you will also unlock the ability to teleport to certain shrines that you have found. As you progress, the map can get a bit confusing – which is the point – but you have a few tricks at your disposal. Firstly, there is a collectible hidden that will show you the outline of the full map and this helps massively when choosing where to explore first. Then if you can find the shop, you can add markers that highlight where save ports and teleportation shrines are. Again, these are both really helpful and should be sought out as soon as possible.

The map itself is divided into different biomes, but they are all very pretty to look at. The lighting is superb throughout as you approach the fauna, and there are more urban ruins to explore too. (Hint: This is where the shop can be found). You will meet some of the residents on your journey too, and they are a quirky bunch. Many will be pleased to hear of your noble endeavour, but some are there to just have some fun in their last few moments. It doesn’t feel too melancholy, as these folks are actually quite funny.

In meeting them, you can also experience some of Sheepo’s more unusual moments. There is the guy hosting a game show where you must direct some tumbleweed down a makeshift pinball machine, or the bird that is having trouble drawing the moon. Stray away from the main path, providing you know which way to go at least, and you will bump into these colourful characters.

sheepo review 3

I say you may know which way to go, as Sheepo is designed for repeat playthroughs and speedrunning. It is only a short game; your first run through should take around three hours, but there are achievements for finishing it in much faster times too. And due to Sheepo’s movement and how he builds momentum from traversing, I reckon there could be some very quick times that utilise and manipulate these mechanics.

So yes, Sheepo is undoubtedly a metroidvania. But a pacifist metroidvania platformer that feels brilliant to control. Sheepo moves around brilliantly, and chaining moves together feels brilliant. The world and story are cleverly brought together and at no point has it felt like the game needed any form of combat. At just three hours long it may sound short, but it is perfectly timed.

Become the animals you save in Sheepo on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One

Metroidvania. Is it becoming an overused word? Have any gameplay mechanic be required to continue progress on your quest and it instantly gets labelled metroidvania, be it 2D or not. This isn’t a criticism of Sheepo, but as a 2D platformer labelled as a metroidvania too, will it be dismissed by those tired of the word? All I am saying is it absolutely shouldn’t be dismissed; Sheepo is good. Very good. Sure, there is an interconnected world that you must explore in 2D, and there are certain areas which you can only reach with certain abilities,  but it is so…

Pros:

  • Excellent movement and control
  • Diverse cast of characters
  • Unique, no combat metroidvania

Cons:

  • Not immediately obvious where to go
  • Too few teleportation marks

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Top Hat Studios
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Switch
  • Version reviewed -Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 20 Oct 2021
  • Launch price from - £9.19
TXH Score

4/5

Pros:

  • Excellent movement and control
  • Diverse cast of characters
  • Unique, no combat metroidvania

Cons:

  • Not immediately obvious where to go
  • Too few teleportation marks

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Top Hat Studios
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Switch
  • Version reviewed -Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 20 Oct 2021
  • Launch price from - £9.19

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