Flock Together is the latest game from John Cooney (jmtb02). It tells the story of a little girl whose pet sheep, somehow, gets tied to a balloon and floats toward the sky. Your job is to follow after it by tethering yourself to different birds. You start off with only three ropes tied to one weak dove, but it won't be long until you'll be soaring. Flock Together is not a complex game, nor is it long, challenging or expansive. What it is, is soothing, cute and fun. It perfectly fits the term "casual gameplay."
To tether more birds just click on the one you want when its within range, and to move around you can use either the [arrow] keys or [WASD]. Since three birds won't be enough to reach the great heights your sheep has floated to, you'll need to get some more rope. Luckily, a hot air balloon piloting rabbit is buying birds and selling ropes. Stronger birds will fetch more money, but even birds of the same type are not created equal. Each species has two stats: one for how fast they fly and the other for how high. Out in the wild blue yonder are wild and rare birds, identified by the stars around them, and they'll sell for more cash with their higher stats.
The art style is well done, though the higher up you go the less there is to look at. It's a shame because the islands at the bottom have their own simple charm.The birds aren't equally simple, but they fit with the game's whimsical style. The sound is absolutely fantastic; the music may be repetitive, but it's so calming and unintrusive that you'll barely notice, especially combined with the soft sound of the waves. All these elements combine to create something that's like interactive, goal-based white noise.
There is something nice about roping a bunch of birds and just cruising the skies, watching the ropes stretch out and seeing your little girl trailing behind like some strange kite where you aren't sure who's in control. If you're looking for an in-depth game that'll burn away hours, this won't hit the mark. If you've had a frustrating day and want a game that'll calm you like warm milk, Flock Together is perfect. It's simple fun wrapped in a beautiful package. What's more, it finally vindicates the majestic albatross, which has gotten a bad rap ever since Samuel Tyler Coleridge's smear campaign.