Growing up in the suburbs, actual sheep didn’t figure heavily into my childhood experiences, although I can remember plenty of books, toys, and movies that all prominently featured farmyard animals. I’m a little older now, and I don’t really know the difference between Dora the Explorer and Yo Gabba Gabba, but I’m guessing that games featuring sheep are still a tried and true family favorite.
Line-drawing games are nothing new, but Top Dog: Farmyard Adventures gives it all a very charming and kid-friendly package. With an easy swipe of the finger, you help your trusty canine companion to herd all the sheep, ducks, or even pigs into their proper folds, ponds, and sties.
Sheep will try to avoid the dog, so you want to gradually herd them in the correct direction by drawing a line on the opposite side of the way you want them to go. Want them to go left? Draw your line on the right. You can also sort of micromanage things by keeping the dog very close by and just continually nudge them in the right direction. The second method is more work and difficult with a lot of sheep, but it works well for short distances or if you’re just trying to get them into the pen.
A counter at the bottom keeps track of how many animals you have left to round up, and there’s definitely an element of challenge involved. You have a choice of difficulty, but there are also ribbons awarded for fast completion times, and you can collect bones throughout the farmyard for extra bonuses.
The overall presentation is extremely well done, with great sound and a clean and clear top down view. The graphics are sleek, colorful, and stylized, which I find ideal for the tight iPhone real estate, and they’re interesting enough to appeal to both adults and kids, although I’d say the game is best suited for younger kids.
My one big complaint with the game is that there aren’t very many levels, with only four easy and four hard. Chasing the ribbons adds some replayability, but not a lot, although developers are promising more levels and OpenFeint access soon.
Reminiscent of Flight Control, Top Dog: Farmyard Adventures isn’t a life-changing app, but it has the lovely quality of being an attractively polished and professional game that kids and their parents can both enjoy.
Here is a video demo of the Top Dog: Farmyard Adventures app on the iPhone
This 3rd Party App is available at the Apple iTunes AppStore. Browse the full list of all AppStore apps filed under the AppStore category.
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