Friday, November 4, 2011

Escape Goat (XBLIG): "A Truly Impressive Retro Platformer"

I recently reviewed two platformers that were lacking in quality gameplay. The games in question offered a challenge, but unfortunately the challenge was based on avoiding cheap deaths. when I sent an inquiry about 'Escape Goat' I was seriously hoping that this wouldn't be a repeat of one of those 'impossible' games. MagicalTimeBean, the developers behind this retro marvel did not disappoint. I was able to complete the entire game without suffering from too many pointless deaths (there were a few). The puzzle solving in the game took a good bit of thinking, but it wasn't something that you had to be a genius at to solve. I ended up really liking the game. The fact that the developer included a detailed level editor made the game even better.

Escape Goat is a 2D platformer that tells the tale of a magical goat that was imprisoned for witchcraft. As the title of the game suggests the goat is determined to escape his imprisonment at all costs. Along the way he befriends a magical mouse that aids him in his quest for freedom. The unlikely duo meet at the beginning of the game and set free imprisoned lambs (1 per level) in the process of their escaping. There are many dangers to face, and mind boggling puzzles to solve. In the end the goat's, and mouse's freedom depends on you, and your puzzle solving skills. The game features a story/singleplayer mode as well as an editor mode that allows you to use objects/enemies from the game in order to make new levels.

The game features about 9 levels (if I remember correctly?), and multiple rooms within each level. The goal of each level is to gather all of the keys in order to open an exit door. You must exit through that door in order to complete the room. The puzzles within each level are complicated by various types of blocks, enemies, traps, and switches. At your disposal you have the help of a mouse, and it's magical hat. The mouse will help you in various ways like getting into tight places, and holding down switches within the levels. The magic hat also plays a huge role in the puzzle solving, and allows the goat to teleport (switch places) where the mouse is. Learning how to utilize every part of the level's features is the key to success. If you ever need to restart a level all you have to do is press the (Back) button. This comes in handy in case you have missed an opportunity to properly complete the level. As you complete all of the rooms within each level new doors/levels will be made available in the main 'Gathering Place (where all the lambs that you free appear)'. When you finally finish the game (if you can?) you will be given a summary of how long you played, how many rooms you completed, and how many times you died. I ended up playing about 4 hours, and died about 357 times. I also completed all of the rooms. After completing the game I really felt like I accomplished something that was noteworthy.

In the end I was extremely impressed with 'Escape Goat'. I never got frustrated at dying which was a big deal for me. For the most part the deaths in the game weren't cheap/unnecessary which made the game quite tolerable. Everything about the game from the retro music/soundtrack to the gameplay itself was brilliant. It is definitely a game that won't scare off players with an extreme difficulty. The fact that 'MagicalTimeBean' included an editor mode makes the game's replay value even better. In conclusion I definitely think the game is worth every point/cent that the developer is asking for. It certainly renewed my faith in the XBLIG platformer genre.

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