We haven’t played a game quite like this for about seven years. In fact, the last game we played that was like Flock! (but only quite like it) was Herdy Gerdy on the PS2. Herdy Gerdy was cute and, in many ways, very cleverly put together, but it didn’t quite work. The same could be said for Flock!
The principle, as in Herdy Gerdy, is to guide a group of animals from point A to point B without exercising any direct control over them. While Flock! manages to avoid some of the mistakes Herdy Gerdy made, it still suffers from its most fundamental problems, which makes us suspect that this whole herding genre might have been onto a bad thing from the off.
The trouble is that herding things just ends up feeling like you’re playing a game with a squad or party of NPCs that have really atrocious AI. If the sheep, cows, chickens and pigs in Flock! had any sense, then there wouldn’t really be a game here, but it’s their lack of sense that makes them so annoying. Although it’s not just that.
It’s also the way the flying saucer you use to herd them feels like too much of a blunt instrument. The control interface is simple at least – overcomplication was ultimately Herdy Gerdy’s downfall – but it can get very frustrating having no precise control over your UFO or the radius of fear that’s supposed to drive the animals in the direction you wan them to go. It’s very difficult to direct them accurately and consistently, and all too easy to send them the wrong way by accident.
We’d also question Flock!’s price too. The easy-to-use level editor certainly lends it a lot of value, but Age Of Booty had one of those too, and that didn’t cost this much.