It’s scientific fact that sheep go to heaven, while goats go to hell (see below), so it seems quite some predicament that there are a number of sheep trapped within a hellish underworld of pixelated puzzles. Thank goodness you are a goat, accompanied by an occasionally hat-wearing mouse, who can save them. Through the masterful art of jumping and pushing buttons. Escape Goat (winner of the Best Game I’ve Seen In A While Award) has been a bit of a hit on the Xbox’s obscured Indie Live Arcade, and is coming to PC next month.
I’ve had a quick go of a preview build, and I can see why it’s liked. Levels are made up of what at first look like ordinary stone (and the like) blocks, until you press buttons and hidden mechanisms begin rearranging things. It’s through this, and the help of your mouse friend who can fit through narrower gaps, that you gather keys and exit rooms. And there’s a magic hat. That lets you teleport to swap places with the mouse, should he be in possession of the fine headwear at that point. And, I think most importantly, there’s double-jump, which automatically qualifies any game for my attention. Want your game featured on RPS? Add in double jump. That’s going to count for every game as soon as my coup is complete, and the rest of the Hivemind are locked in my prisons, forced to produce me endless games featuring double-jump, jetpacks and grappling hooks. For they are the three Magic Ingredients that make all games great. Admittedly Escape Goat only features one of them.
It’s cute, if a little too simple at the start. And I’m maybe getting a little jaded with the super-retro pixel graphics. It doesn’t actually add anything useful to the game, and it would be nice to see such a thing rendered pretty for once. But of course makes no serious impact on the game you’re playing. And it’s a pleasant change to have the game mix things up – this isn’t all button pressing, or block pushing, or careful jumping, or enemy dodging, but a variety of the lot, mixing it up as you go. So, just a month to wait.