Divide by Sheep Review
Divide by Sheep is at first glance a cute little puzzle game, but don't let that fool you. Under its wooly coat it's a challenging exercise in group theory with a rather morbid sense of humor.
The world has been flooded and the surviving sheep have gathered on the remaining islands awaiting rescue. The rafts which come to whisk them to safety can only hold a specific number of sheep, though, a restriction further complicated by the fact that, sheep being sheep, they must all jump from one island to another and to the raft as a group. Unfortunately, each island has a limited size in squares and only one sheep can occupy a square at a time, so if a group of sheep jump to an island without enough open space, the excess sheep will land in the water and drown. Conversely, if two smaller group of sheep each jump onto the same island, they will become a single group and will jump to the next island en masse. By jumping between the islands and regrouping the sheep, you'll form them into the proper sized mobs to fill the rafts. Each level has three rafts, and each one that you fill to the correct capacity will earn you a star for the level.
This alone may prove to be a bit vexing for the algebraically challenged, but the game doesn't leave things there. Wolves soon begin to appear on the islands that will each eat one sheep and then sit fat and happy for the rest of the level. Laser fences are added that will chop sheep in half, with each half needing its own square to occupy - if you had trouble keeping up with the sheep counts in the early levels, just wait until you have to start dealing with fractions. It doesn't end there, but rather than enumerate all of the devious twists that the game comes up with as you progress through its four worlds of 30 puzzles each, I'll let you have the fun of discovering them on your own.
Divide by Sheep is a challenging game, more so than most casual puzzle games. You'll have to think several moves ahead before you even make your first move, because one wrong move could easily make it impossible for a level to be completed at the three star level. Now it is possible to make a mess of things and still manage to get enough sheep onto one of the rafts to one-star a level and unlock the next, so one particularly devilish level shouldn't block you from progressing any further in the game. And if your math and logic skills are a bit on the weak side, you can try to make your way through the entire game this way. If you're like me, however, and enjoy a stiff mental challenge and look at anything less than a three star rating as abject failure, then you're really going to enjoy Divide by Sheep. I loved staring at the screen running possible solutions through my head, making a few tentative experimental moves, and the feeling of accomplishment went the solution became clear in my head and everything fell into place. I can easily recommend the game to anyone looking for a good mental challenge with a slightly twisted sense of humor.
Final Rating: 90% - Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, don't let this challenging puzzle game's cute graphics fool you.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.