Welcome Time Wasters!
The mobile marathon comes to an end this week due to exhaustion. Regular readers will know that I’m not all that big on smartphone gaming. Focusing on the platform these last few weeks has really taken it out of me. I just need to get back to my computer, but before I do, there’s one last game to review: Sherman the Alaskan Cow.
Starting off with full disclosure, a code for Sherman the Alaskan Cow was provided to me by the developers. The game’s 99 cents in the Play Store, and we’re going to see if it is worth that value.
Sherman the Alaskan Cow is all about a boy that is a cow, maybe? I’m not really sure what Sherman is. He looks like a little boy in a cow suit, but also is just plainly called a cow. I don’t know. The point is that all of his cow friends (that look like regular cows) are kidnapped by the evil Moose Corp and he has to go save them.
This is what I learned from the very first cutscene in the game, which looks like a Flash animation from 1990s-era Newgrounds. There were also other story sequences in the game, but I have no idea what happens in them. Every time one started to play, my screen would go black and I could only hear sounds. As such, I really have next to no idea how the story of Sherman the Alaskan Cow progresses. However, I can’t imagine I’m missing much.
Gameplay in Sherman the Alaskan Cow is a bit of a chore. It all has to do with exploring these 3D levels to find a golden key that completes the area. There are puzzles to solve along the way, as well as additional collectibles to find. Each of the levels are small in size and remind me of the Captain Toad sections of Super Mario 3D World, but without the fun.
The biggest problem with Sherman the Alaskan Cow has to be its controls. There’s a virtual joystick that players use to move Sherman around. He feels a bit sluggish while moving.This makes just getting him to turn the right way a task in itself. It gets even worse when grabbing a power-up that turns him into a raging bull. You kind of just have to give up control at that point and wait for the power-up to run out before you can resume play.
The sluggish controls for Sherman make the general gameplay of the game a pain. It isn’t that any of the puzzles in the game are difficult to solve, but rather that they all become difficult due to how Sherman the Alaskan Cow handles.
The camera in Sherman the Alaskan Cow only makes things worse. See, players can only control the horizontal view of the camera. Also, the camera only has four fixed angles for each level. This means there are lots of times when the player wants to get a better view of what they are doing, but can’t. It also doesn’t help that the camera often sits so far back from the level that it is hard to see much of anything that’s going on. Moving the camera is also a pain as it requires the player to swipe the screen. It’s so frustrating to try and move Sherman at the right time for a puzzle, only for the camera to shift around and change my view.
The graphics in Sherman the Alaskan Cow are a mixed bag. The cheesy animations that make up the story (what I saw of it) aren’t charming. I love retro graphics, but imitating Flash animations from ages ago just doesn’t work well. I think the worst part of this is that it doesn’t appear that the developer wasn’t trying to tap on player’s nostalgia with that decision.
The in-game graphics in the game are solid. The levels look nice and Sherman has some extra personality with his animations. There are also a variety of different themes for levels that make it clear when players have moved onto the next part of the game. The style also works well on mobile and has a bit of appeal to it. It’s just a shame that the UI for the game is so intrusive that it covers a lot of the screen.
Audio in Sherman the Alaskan Cow isn’t really worth mentioning. Those Flash animations I mentioned earlier all have the most generic of sounding effects, and that transfers over to the main game. There’s also some music for the different levels, but none of it really stands out as memorable, just passable.
Overall, I can’t really recommend Sherman the Alaskan Cow. The 99-cent price tag isn’t bad for what’s here, but the clunky controls keep it from being enjoyable. There’s also really not much in the way of challenge from the puzzles. Plus, you might never even see what’s happening in the story. Some parts of the game have polish, but it’s all the wrong parts to make it a fun adventure.
Sherman the Alaskan Cow earns 2 GiN Gems out of 5!