Shaun the Sheep:
Lamb Rover 4x4
Shaun the Sheep: Lamb Rover 4x4 is a 3D driving game from Aardman Animations, the British company behind a vast library of wonderful stop-motion movies and TV shows, including Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts. Shaun the Sheep, a character from one of the Wallace and Gromit short films, now stars in his own series of 7-minute television spots about the wacky adventures of clay animals living on a farm.
Lamb Rover 4x4 puts you, as Shaun, in the driver's seat of a creaking rustbucket of a pick-up truck, as you complete tasks here and there on the farm, under the supervision of the long-suffering sheep dog Bitzer. Control your vehicle with the [arrow keys] and trigger a burst of speed by holding down [space]. There are only ten missions, but they cover a nice variety of tasks. Be sure to watch the pre-mission screen for a few seconds, as there will sometimes be important additional instructions.
Occasionally upon completing a mission, you will be rewarded with an upgrade for your truck, which you can then outfit by driving into the centrally-located barn during any mission. Complete all ten missions to unlock a fully-outfitted vehicle that you can use in any level to achieve higher scores.
Analysis: Honestly, this isn't the most refined mission-based driving game I've ever seen, but the clunkiness is arguably part of the charm. Your vehicle is comically ill-equipped for its environment—its engine gets flooded in medium-sized puddles, and if it weren't for the nitro, it would have trouble mounting the humblest of hillsides.
But Lamb Rover 4x4 is all about off-kilter pluckiness, from the double-pun-dipped title to the roundabout approach to missions. What's the best way to pick up trash? By rolling a fat sheep around on it, Katamari-style! How do you squeeze a batch of oranges? Have that same sheep hold onto a rotating handle, give it a magnet, and then drive the truck around in a circle! It's classic Aardman contraption-ism.
The thing I miss most (besides the Restart Mission and Back to Menu buttons) is a radar screen displaying mission objectives, or at least an accessible map of the farm. You do have a weather vane pointing you to your next objective most of the time, but on the missions where you need to search blindly for targets or lost sheep, a map would at least show you where all the walls, rivers, and fences were. Seriously, the walls will drive you crazy. They're everywhere.
If you're in the mood for a tuned, hard-core racing experience, then Lamb Racer 4x4 won't scratch that itch. But if you'd prefer a more low-key, meandering adventure, then it might be just the thing. This is also your only chance this week to stack six sheep in the back of a truck and bounce them around like a bleating slinky.
Thanks to Caya for the suggestion!