If you’ve ever played the macbre, yet adorable PC game “Lemmings” before you already roughly understand the basic setup of Team 17’s “Flockers”. You essentially seek to solve puzzles by guiding your flock around the 2D map, diverting them to and fro as if they were a stream of water and not wooly-haired mammals. This game of course comes to us courtesy of the minds that created the mega-successful and charming “Worms” franchise (which you should also check out if you haven’t done so already). Is it ultimately a winner or a loser, read on to find out…
For starters, Flockers puts on a polished presentation, with appropriate graphics and menus which lay everything out in a way that makes the basic crux of the game very easy to grasp. You essentially have a number of items you have to use to help achieve your goals on each stage, these range from spawn points to special items and if you want to master the game you’ll need to immediately familiarize yourself with what everything does. Once you get the hang of the basic idea however, it isn’t too hard to breeze though several levels. Quickly enough however you’ll encounter your first serious challenge which will undoubtedly require some lateral thinking. In this sense, Flockers succeeds quite well as a puzzle game – taking a rather exploited concept and finding new ways to improve upon the basic model.
Essentially, we’re not talking about a fully action-packed blockbuster here with amazingly realistic graphics. Instead, Flockers is a highly entertaining offering which superimposes its own humor over the top of a puzzle-based framework. In light of this it manages to achieve great things within its seemingly limited context and will keep you engaged for hours with relative ease (as most Team 17 games are apt to do). As for the level selection layout, anyone that’s familiar with the Angry Birds series will understand how things work. Basically, you have stages which feature three stars; you can unlock additional levels of course by progressing through the ranks of the lower ones. It’s a fairly common layout but one which is simple and rewarding. Additionally, it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to solve many of the latter puzzles without first learning the tricks inherent in the preceding levels.
Arguably however, the main draw of this game is its style, which perfectly compliments its gameplay. Watching your flock bounce around platforms while gigantic saw blades are spinning above and machinery is emitting steam in the distance is both fun as well as nerve-wracking. The truth is that you’re going to lose your entire flock on occasion, probably in some hilarious way, but that’s ok because it’s really all part of a learning experience. Throughout it all, there’s also a very nice soundtrack which captures the essence of the onscreen action while also providing a non-intrusive backdrop. Team 17 seems to have expertly crafted an atmosphere which lulls you in with highly addictive gameplay and refuses to let go.