Here we have Escape Goat, a Castlevania style platformer with NES-like graphics from the very mystical people over at Magical Time Bean. According to the developer’s website, “Escape Goat is a new take on puzzle platforming”, instead of concentrating on combat, Magical Time Bean want the game to emphasis the puzzle and platform side of things.
Back to the developer’s words now, “Developed with a unique physics engine that allows pixel-perfect world manipulation and destruction, you must use the environment to your advantage to overcome over 50 rooms of challenges. If this isn’t enough, use the built-in level editor to create your own wicked contraptions!” The physics engine that MTB speak of is not actually as unique as they make out, but is still rather interesting. Instead of climbing over objects and blowing stuff up, you must shift around obstacles and use physics to your advantage, examples of this are using a box to activate a switch or even using exploding barrels to shoot off an ember into a pile of barrels, resulting in a chain reaction of explosions killing every enemy in your path. It’ll take some time for you to get used to, but Escape Goat is actually quite fun, honest.
The game sees you take the form of a goat in a prison and, surprise surprise, you must escape from said prison. Escaping can be achieved by travelling from room to room, of which there six for each level. Completing every room can be a bit of a challenge however (thanks to some genius level design at times!), you must activate switches, jump onto high ledges etc. to finish the room.
Quite early on in Escape Goat, you will find a small mouse. Keep him safe, because he’s the key to completing some of the more difficult levels in the game. The mouse can fit in small spaces, activate buttons and even switch places with you if you find a magic hat. I did say you must keep him safe, well, you don’t really… the mouse, despite being very easy to kill, will always respawn so you’ll never find yourself completely stuck.
After you’ve spent a while dodging enemies and scurrying through rooms, you’ll come across a sheep. From talking to the sheep you’ll find that the only way to escape the prison is by finding his seven brothers. As you can probably guess, this then sets up the game’s main storyline.
Unfortunately for Escape Goat, the game’s ending is premature to say the least. You’ll be forgiven in thinking that finding the sheep’s seven brethren is an arduous task, it won’t actually take that long. The game’s difficulty is not the issue, in fact, the level design in Escape Goat is so devilishly clever at times that you’ll be headbutting the screen just by looking at it. The problem lies with the lack of levels, there’s just not enough of them to go around.
If it’s any consolation, Escape Goat does come with a level editor, which allows you to create then play your own levels. This extends the game’s lifespan considerably, but unless your some kind of level-designing genius, they just won’t be able to match some of the maps included in the main campaign. Despite being a relatively short game, this little retro-styled beauty is well worth the Microsoft Points. Go on, give it a go.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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