I first played Escape Goat on XBLI and instantly fell in love. It's a cute, but challenging puzzle platformer about a purple goat and a mouse with a sweet pimp
magic hat who must escape from some jerk's diabolical prison. To do this, they must travel through nine different areas to rescue the magical, slumbering sheep within, and then conquer one final extra-long area for good measure.
Escape Goat has an interesting way about its levels. They're always shifting. Buttons and switches move blocks, barrels will roll, platforms move along tracks, and crates explode (usually in big chain reactions). Puzzles tend to involve trying to understand what will make what do what, and then making sure it all happens in the right order without getting yourself killed.
The actual movement can be a little floaty, but you quickly get used to it. It's not a game-ruiner. Block-wide openings require some precision to get through that may cause a few deaths when you're in a hurry or just unlucky with your dash timing. Still not a game-ruiner, but occasionally annoying.
There are enemies, but you can't kill them directly. You can often kill them indirectly, by using the environment creatively. In several spots, this can even gain you achievements. Which, by the way, aren't just your standard "congrats you beat another level!" fare. The majority of the achievements here are for completing levels in challenging ways. Many of these require you to do things that were clearly not intended when the game was originally released on XBLI, but which probably came to the dev's attention later on down the line. Barring a handful of annoying chievos, these add a good deal to the game, requiring you to think outside the box and push your skills to the limit.
On that note, the overall difficulty of the game is pretty good. You've got a few easy warm-up levels, and then quickly get into the thick of it. Towards the end, you'll be putting your platforming skills to the test. If it's still not tough enough for you, don't fret. Once you complete the game, a bonus mode unlocks with four worlds of extra-challenging levels. A warning pops up to tell you that the going's going to get tough when you start it. And it's not kidding. I'm sure not finishing that without a walkthrough anytime soon.
The game looks great! The dev understands the importance of color, something which pleases me greatly. There's a bit in the first Castlevania episode of Sequelitis about using colors that pop, and it's a lesson that I feel doesn't get taken to heart often enough. In Escape Goat, your goat is purple. Your mouse friend is orange. The environments use a variety of colors to keep your eyes focused. No slog through brownish grey ruins, here. I mean, there... there are some browns and greys. But you get what I'm saying.
Maybe it's just me, but I think the music here shines above all else. Which is only natural, as the dev was originally a video game composer before getting into design, as well. There's a unique sound to the music of Escape Goat that I really can't describe very well. They should have sent a musician. I don't know if it's an echoey sound or, I dunno. Reverb? Something. Makes for some mysterious melodies, though, I can tell you that. Give it a listen on Bandcamp
, if you like. If that sounds like something you'd like to hear in a game, then this is that game, and you know where the purchase button is!
The game contains a level creator, and you can play player-made levels by placing them into a certain folder on your computer. There's a stickied thread on EG's Discussions board that will tell you more.
It's pretty short at about 3 hours for the initial campaign, with potential time extensions in the forms of the bonus campaign and player-made levels. It's also pretty cheap at only $5, which seems like a pretty good trade off. I can safely recommend the game at that price. If you're on the fence, $1.24 during a sale is honestly about as much of a steal as a steal can be. If you're dissatisfied at that price (you won't be), then I just don't know what you're doing with your life.