Sheepy: A Short Adventure

PC, free

As the ever-burning philosophical discussion of what is a “buried treasure” rages on, I walk straight into the fire by covering this fantastic little game, Sheepy: A Short Adventure. This is a free game that’s had no reviews, barely any mention in the gaming press, and absolutely deserves coverage. However, this is also a game made by a popular YouTuber with 12.8 million subscribers. So is it buried? The answer is: I played the whole thing through and I loved it so I’m writing about it and shut up.

I hope they’ll forgive me, but I’d never heard of electronic music channel MrSuicideSheep (however, with a billionty subscribers, I’m sure they’re struggling through), so didn’t recognise the name as the developer on the Steam page when scrolling through the buried new releases. It turns out, this is actually mostly the work of a single developer, one Thomas Lean, and this only makes the finesse in this mini-Metroid-me-do all the more impressive.

In Sheepy, somewhat appropriately, you play as a sheep. Perhaps a toy sheep? It’s not clear. The game begins as you apparently come to life in a pile of discarded rubbish, and are loosely instructed that you need to… you know, honestly, I couldn’t follow the plot. It’s pretty much the standard MV routine, where there’s been a disaster at the factory, with notes and recordings left behind by others who didn’t survive, and a desire to escape from within. It doesn’t really matter, because the important aspect is you’re a sheep who learns to double-jump.

Along the way you’re occasionally pursued by a sentient, possessed teddy bear, providing the game’s only “combat” (you don’t have an attack, but this boss-fight interludes require you to use your movement skills to win), but otherwise the focus here is on exploration and platforming. Sheepy’s abilities come not from within, but rather peculiar artefacts bestowing skills, starting with the double-jump, and eventually offering something close to brief flying.

While I’ve made the Metroid reference, you don’t actually retrace your steps here with new skills, but rather plough ever further-forward, over a game that lasts at most three hours. However, it’s constantly inventive, with new skills needing to be mastered to continue on, in an always-satisfying set of splendid levels. This is made all the more enchanting via its stunning pixel art, incredible lighting, and not unreasonably, fantastic electronica soundtrack.

It’s utterly mystifying that this is free. No one playing this would begrudge a $5 entry fee, possibly a lot more, not least because the result is so polished, so professional, and suggests a developer who’s going to go on to make something really special.

Is this a buried game? Since playing, I’ve seen that GamesRadar has noticed it too, calling it “viral” and observing its Steam ratings put it up there with Palworld. That’s a slight exaggeration, given it boasts 3,000 ratings, compared to the Pokémon-rip-off tree puncher’s 225,000. But the goal of this site is to get people interested in games that they otherwise wouldn’t hear about, and there really does seem to be a massive divide between review readers and video watchers. Buried Treasure‘s Discord regulars had never heard of it, and I can’t imagine how I’d have come across it earlier this week without deep-diving Steam’s releases. So here we are.

And given it’s free, and also absolutely excellent, let’s have at it.

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  1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, it looks really neat.

    I’m looking at the Steam page, and I’m made to wonder if they made the game free in hopes of selling the soundtrack for $11 a pop. Or maybe it’s like a steam version of pay what you want, where you can play it for free but if you like it you can give the dev some money and also get the soundtrack.

    Regardless, I think I’ll enjoy this one.

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