I’ve mentioned before that I won’t often pick up a game without knowing some things about it, but recently Twinfinite’s stockpile has been growing pretty large so I’ve snagged a couple without my requisite research. Among these was the puzzle-platformer Home Sheep Home 2. I’d never heard of this title or it’s predecessor, but it sounded like something that might be fun and possibly even appropriate for my six-year-old. Imagine my delight, then, when I fired this up and was greeted with the familiar theme music to the British children’s show Shaun the Sheep, a staple in our household already!
If you’re not familiar, Shaun the Sheep is a spinoff show from the more widely-known Wallace and Gromit series of claymation cartoons. While more popular in his native Britain, Shaun has bounced his way into the American market with some help from Netflix. In Home Sheep Home 2, the player is tasked with guiding our intrepid ovine, Shaun, along with his bulky friend Shirley and the young, adventurous Timmy (all taken from the source material) across a variety of landscapes and puzzles ranging from underground mines to the rooftops of London, and eventually into space. Along the way, a scattering of obstacles and hazards impede progress, and you must find a way to use each sheep’s unique qualities to progress.
Given the source material, I took the first chance I could to share Home Sheep Home 2 with my six-year-old son. Here, again, I got an amusing surprise; as I prepared to launch the game, I told him the name, and he immediately lit up. “I know that game! I’ve played it at school, it’s the one with Shaun the Sheep!” After a little while, it became apparent to me that I’m pretty sure he’s played the first game (which is available to play for free online), but the gist of it is basically the same, so he took pretty easily to picking this one up. The puzzles were a bit tougher than he was able to tackle entirely independently, though it didn’t take much help to push him through most of what we were looking at, and there were some early levels he could handle on his own. All told, this would be a great title for introducing children – especially those who know the characters – to this style of game, and the simplicity mixed with a good dose of increasing difficulty makes it a great team-up title for guiding young minds to come up with solutions.
All in all, Home Sheep Home 2 is a great, fun platforming puzzle game that takes thought and in-game teamwork to get through. It’s not exactly a challenging title for seasoned gamers, but the unique characteristics of each sheep keep you thinking. While the $9.99 investment is possibly more than some would care to pay, I think it’s easily worth it. There’s a good amount of content and a great possibility for those of us raising budding gamers to reach into a genre that’s often dominated by puzzles designed for adult-level problem solving skills. With a pretty hefty sum of challenges to complete, items to collect, and fun “cheat” modes to try out on levels you’ve already completed, there’s plenty here to justify the price tag. Home Sheep Home 2 is available via Steam, as well as the Mac app store and iTunes.
[+Charming characters and setting] [+Kid-friendly but not oversimplified] [+Great variety to challenges and rewards] [-Very familiar formula]