Back in May 2014, I took a look at an early build of Flockers. Team 17 had decided to release it via the increasingly popular Early Access program on Steam. Generally, I liked what I saw and was hopeful that with more time, the developers could create the kind of magic that left so many of us with fond memories of Flockers muse; Lemmings. Fast forward four months and the game has now been fully released on not only Steam but also Xbox One and PS4.
I’m not going to pad this review out as to be quite honest, very little has changed since my preview. If you’re interested in my previous and still relevant thoughts you can take a gander at the more in depth preview HERE. More levels have been added and a general spit and polish has been liberally applied to all visible surfaces, but the basic premise of the game remains the same and it still feels rather underdeveloped.
Lemmings was originally released way back in 1991. It tasked you with leading your band of furry critters from A to B by means of controlling their actions with 8 different abilities. The Climber could climb. The Floater could float down big drops by using an umbrella. The Bomber was, well a suicide bomber. The Blocker was like a lollipop map who stopped your other lemmings in their tracks. The Builder would raise a stairway letting you reach higher areas. A Basher, Miner and Digger filled out the abilities letting you dig horizontally, diagonally downwards or directly downwards.
So clearly lots of ways to control your Lemmings, the sequels added even more variety to what you could do, it meant that levels could often be solved in completely different ways. The animations and designs of these moves and abilities really bought the lemmings to life and injected a whole lot of humour. Fast forward 23 years to Flockers and Team17 have seen fit to offer you just 5 abilities. That’s real progress right there.
Over 60 levels are now available, with differing backgrounds, for point of reference; Lemmings had over 120. Some of them are great, others feel unjustly harsh. The lack of abilities and the structure of the levels themselves generally leaves you with only one route to the exit. It all feels rather scripted, flat and forced. Online leaderboards and the ability to stream direct to twitch from within the game are both nice features and to be honest apart from the obvious graphical improvements that 20+ years bring, these 2 areas are the only real improvements over the ancient game that I’m comparing it to.
If you are in the unfortunate position to have never played Lemmings you’ll probably get more out of Flockers than anyone else. Even then it feels rather lacklustre, uninspired and plain boring. The sheep are undeniably cute and will most certainly appeal to younger gamers, who knows it might even lead to a few more vegetarians in the world, without a doubt that will be the only legacy that Flockers leaves behind.
Flockers is available on PC via Steam and Xbox one and PS4 both at retail and via their respective marketplaces.