Have you ever wanted to herd sheep? If the answer is no, then you are qualified enough to play and enjoy Herdy Gerdy. If the answer is yes, then go to the hospital and get your head examined immediately. Herdy Gerdy is a game about herding various creatures, but it’s not nearly as mundane as the real thing. In fact, HG can be quite entertaining…
Herding as easy as chasing a creature, such as a Doop, into one of the available pens. Doops are small, unintelligent creatures that run from humans and embrace danger. All Gerdy (the main character) has to do is walk up to a Doop and it’ll run away. You can chase the Doop and more or less steer the direction it runs in by slightly adjusting Gerdy’s position. Harsh movements can cause problems and may help the Doops get away, especially if you’re trying to herd a large group of them. Once they’ve been trapped in the pen, they’re safe from Gromps and cannot escape. Gromps are large Doop-eating creatures that will do whatever is necessary to fill their tummy. If they fill their stomach with too many Doops, the game will be over. As Gerdy, your job is to herd as many Doops as possible and make sure that doesn’t happen.
Gromps will send you flying into the air if they catch you, so it’s best not to get too close to them. The only way you can freely move about each area without getting harassed is by trapping the Gromps. First, get a Gromp to chase you. Hold down the R1 button to run faster than the Gromp and lure him into an underground trap. The Gromp follows Gerdy’s every move, so doing this isn’t too hard.
As simple or average as these tasks may sound, Herdy Gerdy is actually a fun and somewhat peaceful experience. I like dark games, but every now and then it’s nice to have a game that takes you to a fantasy world that isn’t so sad and emotional. Herdy Gerdy’s story is pointless, but that’s okay because it allows me to enjoy the game without becoming mentally attached to any of the characters.
There aren’t any other games like Herdy Gerdy, at least not on the PlayStation 2, so it’s impossible for me to clearly say “buy this game” or “don’t buy this game.” Everyone is different and everyone has different tastes. Fans of action games may like Herdy Gerdy’s change of pace. But fans of adventure games may be disappointed if they were expecting something along the lines of Jak and Daxter. HG is classified as an adventure game, but most of the gameplay consists of herding, not exploring and collecting. Close-minded gamers may want nothing to do with HG because of this, but a true hardcore gamer knows that you can’t judge a book by its cover. You wouldn’t be reading this review if you weren’t interested in playing a game about herding, so I recommend that you give this game a shot. A real shot — don’t play it for five minutes and quit because you’re not immediately immersed in the experience. Not every adventure game can be as mesmerizing as ICO. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that some of the best games in the world start out slow, but grow on you over time. As you progress towards the end of the game, you realize just how wonderful the experience really is and wish so badly that it would never end. If that has ever happened to you, then strongly consider buying this game.
I can understand why some people don’t like Herdy Gerdy, but I don’t understand why some gamers won’t even give it a chance. Don’t set your expectations too high or too low for this game — just play it and enjoy it for what it is. Think of Herdy Gerdy as being the Moulin Rouge of video games; some people will love it, while others won’t be able to figure out why.
Reviewer’s Scoring Details
Herdy Gerdy proves once and for all that games with simple tasks can be fun to play. Most of the critics are against me on this, so you may think that I wanted to be kind and decided to give Eidos a break. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not to be rude or anything, but most of the games released this year have sucked. I’ve been lucky enough to review a lot of the good ones, but believe me, there are plenty of bad games out there. I did not compare Herdy Gerdy to other titles because there aren’t any games out there that are exactly like it. Comparing it to the PlayStation 2’s top-tier releases would be unfair. I judged Herdy Gerdy on its own merits and nothing else.
The in-game animation is great, but the real-time cut scenes are terrible. None of the characters move their mouths when they talk, and their bodies are really stiff. There are a few animated sequences that mix pre-animated characters with real-time backgrounds (at least, that’s how it looks), but they’re far and few between. I don’t even want to talk about the foggy backgrounds…
The music in Herdy Gerdy is just as whimsical as the gameplay. It’s not an overly deep or emotional soundtrack, but I like it a lot.
Herdy Gerdy’s gameplay is extended with tons of levels, not cheap puzzles that take several hours to solve.
Herdy Gerdy isn’t an overly original concept, but the execution and style of the game are unique. On the back of the box, its says that you can “control a variety of unique species.” That sentence is a little misleading. There’s a distinct difference between herding and controlling. This isn’t Pikmin or Munch’s Oddysee. There are some similarities, but for the most part, Herdy Gerdy is its own unique game.
Herdy Gerdy is a [mostly] simplistic game that’s fun for the whole family.