Recently I took a look at an Xbox Live Indie Game with the comedic title of Escape Goat. Escape Goat was developed by MagicalTimeBean and released on November 2. You control a purple goat, who has been unjustly incarcerated in a labyrinthine prison for the crime of witchcraft. Early in the game, you team up with a rat, and together these two characters much make their way through the prison to escape while avoiding the reaper guards and deadly traps.
The game is a puzzle platformer with 8 bit style graphics. Though it is a 2D platformer, it is not really a sidescroller, as there is no scrolling involved. Each stage consists of one screen. The goal of each stage is to reach the exit, which usually entails pressing switches, collecting keys, and avoiding enemies. The game consists of 64 stages, spread out across 10 uniquely themed areas. From the beginning of the game, you have the ability to send your rat buddy through small passages, where he has the ability to press some unreachable buttons. I found the level design to be quite good. The levels aren’t particularly difficult, and there seems to be only solution for each stage, but I did find many of the solutions to be pretty clever. The stages cleverly use many different elements in their solutions, so you must always think outside the box. One disappointing thing about the game is the lack of any sort of climax. You solve the final room, and then your done. There isn’t any sort of boss fight or anything like that, it just kind of ends. It is also worth noting that the game features a level editor, so if the two and half hours or so you get out of the main levels aren’t enough, you can always make your own. Disappointingly though, there is no way to upload or download levels, so you can’t try out your friends’ creations.
The gameplay is pretty basic in Escape Goat. You can move around, jump, and send out the rat. There is one powerup that allows you and the rat to switch places instantaneously, which is pretty cool, but for the most part the game handles like any other 8 bit platformer. The controls are responsive though, and the goat has a double jump for reaching high platforms. Their isn’t any combat in the game, with your only way of dealing with enemies being avoiding them, or using environmental hazards to take them out. Overall the game controls well, and any deaths are the result of human error, and not the game.
Visually, Escape Goat seems to be an attempt to emulate classic 8 bit style visuals of the ’80s, and that is exactly what it looks like. While the graphics are an accurate representation of 8 bit, there isn’t much to set them apart. If you were to look at this game in 1988, you would think nothing of it, it looks like any average NES game; there is nothing overtly bad about the visuals, just nothing spectacular. The music on the other hand, is quite good. The developer opted not to go with chip tunes, but more modern sounding music. This was a good choice, and the music sounds a lot like something you would find on the Sega CD and other similar early CD consoles. The music is pretty catchy, but it does loop quite a bit, and for the 10 areas, there are only about 5 songs. I did encounter one instance of slowdown, but other than that, the game ran fine with no glitches or technical blemishes.
Escape Goat is a fun game, and not a whole lot more. It isn’t too long, lasting only an afternoon, but what time I spent with it I enjoyed. It features some clever puzzles and well designed levels, but suffers from a lack of difficulty and an anticlimactic ending. I would recommend Escape Goat if you’ve got a free afternoon and $3 to spare, but don’t go in expecting it to change your life and you’ll have a good time.
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- Clever Level Design
- Solid Controls
- Good Music
- Pretty Easy
- Anticlimactic Ending