Escape Goat Review (Xbox Indie Games 240 MS Points)
It doesn’t happen often but every blue moon a XBLIG title pops up that gets back to the roots
In this 2D title inspired loosely by Adventures of Lolo(Eggerland series in Japan) and maybe a
bit of Chew-Man-Fu(PC Engine) your goal is to figure out how to escape the castle with your goat
by pressing switches to move the scenery or to cause chain reactions which in turn opens the door.
Graphics: Retro-like graphics that look like they are tile-based. Fitting color schemes highlight
the different stages. The various effects like explosions or moving blocks have a slight hint of
modern trickery to them but do not clash with the rest of the imagery. The simple animation on the
goat actually helps here because making it any more fluid would break the overall feel of
Sound: It has that professional synth feeling to it and immediately takes you back to those
great japanese games from the late 80′s and early 90′s. Just getting that part right is
difficult if you don’t have the original instruments and are trying to create this
with modern music composition software. The tunes stick out and are memorable enough to get
one to hum them along even long after the game has been turned off. It is just so great
to not hear the same songs from the usual royalty-free websites for a change.
Gameplay: On your side you have your trusty mouse which can climb up walls/stick to platforms or
squeeze through tight spaces. In order to get the main character into certain places you have to
find a magic hat that lets you switch places with the mouse. Your goat can run, jump, double-jump
and dash. Sounds simple but more is not needed for this action puzzle game.
What is there to like about the gameplay? It actually makes you think! Some of the puzzles really
are tricky and a few of them have multiple solutions. It is usually clear what you have to do but
in the later levels you have to take your time to study the possible effects(I’m looking at you
Final Level 8 of 10!). There are also a few welcome aha! moments.
The goat responds as expected and moves pixel perfect. I actually sat there trying to figure out
if the goat would fall off edges if I move him millimeters at a time. Throwing the mouse / getting
it attached to the wall can be figured out after a few tries – sometimes it ran in the wrong
direction but with the press of the B button that is solved. The collision detection is also great
so you can’t blame neither the control scheme/response time nor the enemies/traps when you die.
Replayability: Some. There is an editor to create levels but without the ability to share the levels
it may not be very useful for the average joe. Designing levels is easy but to get a really
good puzzle going you have to spend quite a bit of time.
I think speed running through the game / trying to beat it with the fewest deaths adds to the
Potential: There is a lot of potential here – by adding just a few new elements / objects a ton
of clever puzzles can be created. Serious programmers make level editors and this game has one. Now if there would be a way to share levels it could extend the gameplay quite a bit but then at the same time adding this feature would create a quality control problem. I think the best solution would be to offer a PC version where people can upload/share their levels and the best ones are included in a sequel.
In closing, I would not really change anything about Escape Goat except add more levels or make
it a bit more difficult. These are the type of games that a whole generation grew up on
and finding this on XBLIG made my week.
TOTAL 9 of 10
Go check out Escape Goat and other wonderful titles by Magical Time Bean HERE