I am not really a maths person. It's not that I'm particularly bad at it, it's just that long division and algebra aren't really my favourite ways to pass the time. So when Divide by Sheep landed on my desk, it caused a little trepidation.
But as far as puzzle games go, Divide By Sheep is a twisted tale. The Grim Reaper is feeling a little lonely and has decided that he'd like a few friends to keep him company. His buddy of choice? A few fluffy sheep, the odd wolf here and there, maybe a pig or two - you know, the usual companions.
His method of persuasion is to send a flood that will drown them all, leaving the animals stranded in groups of varying sizes on tiny islands with different obstacles and traps in between, from fences to predators. Your objective is to negotiate these obstacles and get a certain number of animals to a liferaft to earn stars. Too many and the life raft sinks; too few and it just won’t go anywhere.
For each puzzle, you complete, you get a star. Getting three stars means that you, effectively, win the level. The sheep don't always come out the best though. Some have been flipped through lasers, which slice the sheep in half. They get taped back together on the raft when they're rescued, but in the meantime, they take up double the space, which you have to factor in when making your calculations.
At times, it’s like the fox, chicken and sack of grain riddle. Except the fox is a wolf, the chicken is a sheep and the sack of grain is an exploding platform made from TNT. The wolves will eat whatever sheep land on their platform, which is a nice way of trimming the herd when you need to. It’s also a way of keep a TNT-loaded platform from exploding when you remove the sheep; the wolf is so weighed down by its meal, it will no longer flip to the other platforms.
The replay value is decent, because getting all three stars on many of the later levels is fiendishly difficult. Stars serves a purpose besides bragging rights: you need a certain number to unlock the next world. Getting a single star is enough to move on to the next level, but sooner or later you’ll need the others to progress. At the moment, there are 120 levels spread across four worlds, but there’s the promise of more coming soon.
Divide By Sheep won't quite make you a maths genius, but it's certainly fun. Worth a shot.