Indie puzzle platformers are definitely one of my favourite game genres, and Escape Goat 2 supports my opinion greatly. It is known that there is no lack of 2D puzzle games, but this game avoids blending in with the rest of them. You play as a purple goat that has to escape from the Stronghold of Toragas, as well as freeing sheep souls in your travels. The first game was originally released of PC, but now the sequel has made its way over to the Play Station 4. I am pleased I decided to play this game on PS4, as it meant I could enjoy the experience on a larger screen. That and I personally feel more comfortable with a controller in my hands than a mouse and keyboard.
By saving a sheep soul you get a small amount of dialogue each time, but there is not real story behind it. However, the lack of story isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Seeing as the main focus is on the puzzle aspect, rather than the emotions of the goat. You also get some character interaction when returning to certain stages, as more levels open up once you obtain a certain amount of sheep soul orbs. Each one of these certain stages contains the spirit of different animals, who talk to you before you set off on completing the extra levels.
Due to the lack of story, all that was lost had to be made up in the gameplay. And that is exactly what Escape Goat 2 did. The gameplay itself is set out in an array of square spaces, which sounds simple enough. But when you have to deal with fire throwing enemies and explosive boxes, the game starts to get more and more complex. You have to solve your way around these obstacles without being crushed or burnt to death. And unlike other games, there is no health bar in Escape Goat 2. One mistake and you’re done for.
I was impressed at the range of puzzles in Escape Goat 2; they didn’t seem to become repetitive after playing a large portion of the playing. This was great to see as I know many puzzle games fail at being creative when making more content, like Color Zen. There are also many other aspects you have to worry about: for example if you or your mouse friend were to step off a button holding up a door that is your only exit, you could be trapped there forever. But thankfully the game incorporated a shortcut for these situations, as you could easily press the touch pad to restart the room. This was a nice feature as it saved you from entering the menu every time you made a blunder.
There are also items to help you in your travels, you have a mouse partner who can help by fitting through tight spaces that you couldn’t. He can also aid you by luring enemies away from you if you needed to sneak past. As well as this there are special abilities you can use in certain stages. The Magic Hat gave you the power to switch places with the mouse, once he had got to a place that was too small or dangerous for you to reach. You could also get a cape type item, which allowed your mouse to fly across from wall to wall to reach switches or new places.
Another really good thing about this game is that it’s suitable for everyone. It’s fun for children, and challenging for adults. It’s also very satisfying when you solve puzzles, especially once you work out an extremely difficult one. The music was another very good aspect too; it changed in each section and suited the levels they were assigned to. However, as well as being catchy it can also be very irritating, if you are stuck on a certain level hearing the same song over and over could potentially drive you crazy.
I’m going to give Escape Goat 2 eight out of ten, as for an indie game it has so much polished content. It manages to present new puzzle ideas instead of repeating the same processes, which is something not many puzzle games do. The art style was also very aesthetically pleasing, and you will struggle to get bored of the vibrant colours. The gameplay was great, and the small amount of story suited this game very nicely. It’s quite cheap as well, so it is definitely worth the money. I’d recommend it to any fans of the puzzle genre.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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