Sheep Defense (PlayStation Minis) Review– Baa-king Up the Wrong Tree

SCE’s first four minis released a few weeks back from its Japan Studio were a huge letdown. Now we have three more of them, and as with the first batch, all three have some similar elements about them, such as the fact that they are all primarily designed to be two-player games, and that they all use similar controls. They’re also all a dollar cheaper each than that first batch of four, but that’s still too much for such nibble-sized games. $1.99 for all three together would have been a fairer price. It’s not that they’re terrible, and this trio is certainly a big improvement on phase one, but there’s just not enough substance to any of them to keep you playing for more than 10 minutes or so. They all actually remind me of slightly longer Wario Ware games.

In Sheep Defense you control two sheepdogs who are literally running round in circles trying to protect sheep from being snatched by bears and wolves. Player 1 uses the directional buttons to move in a circular motion either clockwise or counter clockwise, and L to bark and scare away the predators, while player 2 presses O and X to move clockwise, Triangle and Square to move counter clockwise, and R to bark.

Although the game is really optimized for two people playing together, you can actually press both sets of buttons yourself if there’s no one else around to play with, although it feels a bit unwieldy at first.

The only other thing that you need to think about is keeping an eye on your bone-shaped stamina gauge, which lets you know when you’re barking too much and running out of puff. Avoid this by saving your bark until enemies are nearby.

Overall, it’s a mildly diverting game for about five minutes, and a bit of a laugh when playing with someone else, but there’s not much more to it than that for your $1.99.

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