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TOPIC: Obsessing about the food chain with Wolf Sheep Cabbage

Obsessing about the food chain with Wolf Sheep Cabbage 11 months 3 weeks ago #179

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I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Yono and the Celestial Elephants, a cute, charming, and easygoing puzzle adventure game with a lot of philosophical musings and a lot of heart, and so I started looking into the developer, Neckbolt Games, aka Niklas Hallin's, other games. Being a big puzzle fan, I was immediately drawn to his puzzle game Wolf Sheep Cabbage, which was released a couple of years ago on Android. On the surface the game looked pretty typical of the genre, but as a long-time puzzle game player I know that you can only tell how good a puzzle game is by trying it out so I jumped in.

Many hours later, I'm still addicted to playing this game! The visual design and sound design are clean and have personality and charm, and the core game mechanics are rock solid and, like the best of puzzle games, quite elegant (which is no small feat). In the game each of the eponymous puzzle pieces have three "growth" states (e.g. sprout, medium cabbage, big cabbage). In a mechanic reminiscent of the excellent game Threes you can combine pieces at the same state of growth according to the food chain (wolf eats sheep eats cabbage). As you'd expect, the goal is to manage the board and the incoming stream of puzzle pieces to try to get the highest score possible.

Part of what makes the game so addictive is figuring out the optimal strategy of how to manage your limited board space. I'm not completely sure what the rate of pieces is, but the game seems to provide you more cabbages and sheep than wolves, which would be logical. After putting quite a bit of time into the game it seems like despite your best efforts you can still get stuck with way more wolves than any other pieces, and part of the problem may be that if you make a large combo by having a grown wolf eat many grown sheep, you end up with a lot of wolves on the board with not enough sheep. Having to make sure that roughly one wolf eats one sheep ruins the fun of trying to set up combos, but it does seem to make the game last longer, which in the long run should net you a higher score.

I'm not sure if there's any dynamic adjustment going on with the puzzle pieces you're given, but my impression is that with a bit more balancing this game could be really excellent, but as it is it's still a really fun and addictive puzzle game that I highly recommend. I continue to be impressed with this developer, and will definitely have to check out his other games as well.

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