App Army Assemble: Flocks - Does this beautiful puzzler bring anything new to the genre?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Flocks - Does this beautiful puzzler bring anything new to the genre?
| Flocks

Flocks is a beautiful looking puzzler that sees players attempting to solve a series of 'scenes' by controlling groups of characters. Each stage is physics-based, meaning there are potentially multiple solutions to each puzzle, which is always fun. We decided to hand the game over to our App Army to see if they had good crowd control.

Here's what they said:

Oksana Ryan

I was looking forward to playing this game but after only a few levels I couldn’t play any longer. The potential to entertain was all there. The graphics were fine, the idea of everyone helping towards a common goal was a sound one but it fell short in execution. The controls were way too erratic, making manoeuvring very hit and miss, and frustrating to say the least.

At one point I picked up an object to throw, and before I could do anything to stop it, the little person had rushed across the screen, knocking into everything I had aligned. Grrrrr. I would have loved to like this game because it had something that was potentially fresh to bring to the table, but until the controls are fixed I don’t think it’s a game I could recommend.

Robert Maines

Flocks is a charming puzzler, where you are in control of blue figures (you start off with one) that you must guide around a level to complete a task. Each level begins with a clue to what task you must accomplish. Things start off simple enough with tutorial levels but soon gameplay elements like switches and motor vehicles add complexity to the task at hand.

Once you get more than one figure you can join them together to lift heavier objects or split them up to do multiple tasks to complete the objective. Levels are displayed in isometric, cartoonish graphics. They remind me of how the Untitled Goose Game looked. The sound is sparse. Touch screen controls can be fiddly at times which can lead to frustration. However this game got its hooks into me, there is satisfaction in completing a level that made me want to keep on playing, recommended.

Torbjörn Kämblad

Flockers is all about solving problems aiding mindless drones. Each level has a single objective to accomplish such as barbecuing a marshmallow or taking a photograph. It might sound simple enough, but a combining of iffy touch screen controls and at times a not too clear path to reach the objective. Getting stuck on a level has not been uncommon. Me and my daughter has gotten stuck on different levels, but it has been quite fun to instruct each other on what to do. You get that kind of eureka-moment each time. “Oh, that button did that?”, or “the crane could lift that too?”.

The iffy touch screen controls are the only thing that truly bothers me. Selecting one, two or three of the faceless drones can be a bit of a hassle. Jumping with any sort of control too can give me a bit of a headache. That aside the game with a simple clean interface and visual presentation with a clear focus on the task at hand is really fun. I enjoy the fanfare, and potpourri at the end of a successful level. The music is akin to elevator muzak just adding a slight ambience. Thankfully the game lets me listen to my own music or podcasts without interruption.

Finally, this game uses the tactile feedback from my iPhone 12 Pro really well. From jumping to driving a car the haptics really work elevating the experience. Flocks is a game that I will keep playing until I have completed all levels, and I will keep looking for updates beyond that. A rewarding game that comes highly recommended.

Bruno Ramalho

Puzzles that you need to think outside the box to solve, some are tricky, some are pretty straightforward. There's no hand-holding, so you need to figure out what to do just by inspecting the elements and objects that are present in that level. Then you need to use 1, 2, or 3 people together to accomplish what you need to do. Sometimes you need 3 people to carry something heavy to another place. Sometimes you need one to hold something in the air, while another presses a button, and another shoots a bow and arrow. The puzzles are quite nice I must say, and it's a pleasure when you get it done.

But the controls are a big problem. There are no instructions on how to control your 3 persons. there's a floating joystick alright, but then you don't know how to select 2 of them, or 3 of them together, and it's even harder to get them to jump at the right time. And then you move them instead of jumping and they fall down from the high place they were, and now you have to get them there again, and it's a pain I must say. Cool puzzles, cool mechanics, but the controls need a little bit of tweaking. I like the game, it has a lot of nice details, graphics-wise, puzzles wise, and sound effects-wise, it's just that the controls are going to annoy a lot of people.

Mark Abukoff

If you aren’t paying attention when you begin the first puzzle, you will have no idea what you’re supposed to do or how to accomplish it. Once I finally figured out what I was supposed to do, I found it interesting but frustrating. I get that there can be an appeal to no tutorials or hand-holding, but I spent far too long trying to solve the first level that my patience had pretty much been used up. I’ll be honest, that’s why I didn’t stay with it very long.

This game has potential, but even a simple opening tutorial- a word of explanation even would be a help for this game. Because even the best games have to give people a reason to stick around. This, at this point, is lacking that. Plus I found that the controls were imprecise, which added to my quick and considerable frustration. In its present state, I’d hesitate to recommend this.

Harry Birnbaum

I have no idea what the hell I’m supposed to be doing, in the beginning, I saw one tree drop down onto a piece of log and I didn’t know what the hell to do, eventually it went to the next level and all I’m doing is running around in the woods trying to start a fire and all I can do is tap on stuff and it throws rocks, I thought this was supposed to be that controlling groups of people in different areas so that they don’t run into each other, but the game is nothing like the pictures or the description of the game timer this game is a waste of money, I got it for free just to Try it out, and even free is too much for this game.

Paul Manchester

Argggghhhhh! That's probably the best way to describe my experience with this game. Let me start by saying that initially from the description and looks alone I was really excited by this one. Graphically it reminded me of games such as donut county and sounded equally intriguing with a nice twist on the puzzle genre.

After figuring out what the hell was happening on the level select, the game started and the pain began. The controls are very floaty and unresponsive and on the smaller screen, it can be a nightmare trying to select or direct the characters accurately. Add into that puzzles can be a little bit trial and error, and sometimes the game is a bit picky about how the player solves them, it's easy to become frustrated (for example on one level I found I could throw a marshmallow onto a stick to cook it, but the game failed me unless I manually placed it onto the stick).

Once you begin controlling (I use that term loosely), then the frustration really steps up, it's not intuitive to select multiple little characters or split the groups and this really needs some more work. I spent more time fighting the controls and trying to get them to do what I wanted than actually solving the puzzles. I cannot recommend this game in its current state. The ideas are great, but the execution is poor.

What is the App Army?

The App Army is Pocket Gamer's lovely community of mobile game experts. As often as possible, we ask them for their thoughts on the latest games and share them with you.

To join, simply head over to either our Discord Channel or Facebook Group and request access by answering the three questions. We'll then get you in right away.