dbs.pngIf you're using sheep as the base unit for a math puzzle game, what do you get when you divide a sheep in half? Well... you get half a sheep and all the blood that comes with it. That doesn't mean it can't also be cute, though. Grimly humorous aesthetics aside, Divide by Sheep is also a fantastic puzzle game which requires players to use simple math in sheep's clothing for puzzle solving.

In each stage, the player is presented with one or more islands with creatures on them. At first, the only creatures are sheep, though other creatures such as wolves are introduced later. There are three goals for each level which must be accomplished in sequence to get a 3-star rating, though the player only needs to complete one of the three to advance. Every goal is to get a set number of a given creature type to the raft in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. This is accomplished by swiping to move the creatures from one island to another island, though there are plenty of things about the game that make this seemly simple prospect far more interesting.

Each island can only hold so many creatures, for one, and any excess creatures sent to that island are lost in the sea. Some islands divide the group of creatures sent to it into multiple groups and bounce them to other islands immediately. Other islands explode when emptied of creatures. Sometimes there is a wall between two islands that must be circumvented. And sometimes there are lasers between two islands that will cut any sheep thrown through them in half, causing them to take up twice as many spaces.

Creatures also interact when different kinds are dropped on top of one another. Wolves eat sheep (or half-sheep) when they come into contact, for example, effectively subtracting sheep from the group. A wolf who is full also won't move to another island, reducing the maximum number of usable spaces on that island.

dbs2.pngDivide by Sheep isn't just another math drilling game. It requires use of simple addition, subtraction, and division, but it presents those concepts in a problem solving context. The visuals and unusual theme also make the numbers concrete and readily understandable. It's exactly the sort of game that kids recalcitrant about learning math should be playing... or would be, if not for the fact that sheep literally get cut in half and leave blood behind everywhere they fall.

It's not realistically gory and every kid is different, so I'm sure the game will be fine for many kids to play. There is a "parental control" setting, though right now all it does is turn off the blood splatters that halved sheep leave behind. The player still sees cartoony flesh and bone. There also doesn't seem to be a way to lock the setting in place, which means kids could easily turn the gore on if they wanted. The game is still in development, though, so maybe that will change.

dbs3.pngI, for one, absolutely love the color-coated black humor of Divide by Sheep. I mention above that this would be great for developing math skills, but it is by no means only for developing math skills. The puzzles are satisfying and watching sheep get dismembered and eaten (in some order) makes an already excellent puzzle game just that much more fun.

Divid by Sheep will be coming out for iOS, Android, and unspecified OSes via Steam this summer. If you're interested in trying the game in iOS beta, which is already a highly polished experience, you can apply via the Divide by Sheep web site.