Review: Escape Goat 2 (PS4)

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Title: Escape Goat 2
Format: PlayStation Network Download (116 MB)
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Double Fine
Developer: MagicalTimeBean
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E
Escape Goat 2 is also available on PC, Mac, and Linux.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Do not confuse this game with the PS3 physics-based Pain clone Goat Simulator. That game bears no resemblance to this beautiful puzzler. It’s too bad that Goat Simulator made such a name for itself when it’s naught but a tech demo. And a kind of BAAAAAAAAAAHHHHD one at that. I had to.

The game begins with you playing as a goat in an area called Overgrown Pathway. You have to get out! Thank goodness goats can jump high and ram hard and fast. Yes. I did.

Eventually you gain a friend who is a singularly-minded mouse. Apparently he snoozes in your fur until you need him to run around walls or sleep on switches. When he has served his purpose he can be magically called back. Indelicate and nonsensical but useful.

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As for plot, your goat is releasing the souls of lost goats who came before him. Save logic for the puzzles, please and thank you. It’s a videogame, not an animal husbandry documentary.

And puzzles there are aplenty. Innovative puzzles. Good confusing puzzles at points. There are wandering reapers shooting fireballs and blades running around some levels. There are various ways to gather keys to escape each level. Some mechanics have to be executed with precision while others are more flexible.

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It is true in all good puzzle games that one must remember all the tools at one’s disposal and make sure you aren’t forgetting one at the most important time. For instance, the ram mechanic has more than one use. Sure, it can break certain blocks but it can also be used to cover ground quickly. The game won’t tell you that. It will expect you to realize it on your own. Ah, the human brain.

You’ll come to a crossroads after the Overgrown Pathway. Either take the Spine of the Stronghold or traverse the Woods of Duplicity. The choice is yours to make. There are also hidden rooms! Keep that in mind as you solve the puzzles in each area.

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The overworld map is a mosaic in the form of a stained-glass window. Each level completed finishes a portion of that mosaic. But the path around that overworld is not free to walk, as Glen Campbell might sing. It’s strictly guided in order to keep players from jumping from a simple puzzle to a puzzle with insurmountable mechanics they have no hope of overcoming. It’s a puzzle game not Grand Theft Auto. Therein lies it’s strength and beauty.

Visuals:
Enjoy the video of me playing a puzzle for the first time and learning from my mistakes as I go. WARNING: SPOILERS!

Audio:
The main menu music is very reminiscent of George Winston’s album Autumn, gorgeous piano. But inside the puzzles the music changes completely to a mix between Alan Parsons Project instrumentals and 16-bit arcade cabinet 25 cent riffs. Not a bad thing.

The gameplay sounds are combinations of bings, bangs, bongs, zzzzzaps, splats, zings and squeaks with just a hint of squeegee. In other words, typical effects sounds of the gaming milieu. Boing!

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
Once upon a time, videogames were simpler things. Sometimes the great ones still are. I have tried to think of a way to keep from giving Escape Goat 2 a perfect score. I don’t recall ever giving a game a perfect score before. But as my mama said, “There’s a first time for everything.”

Score:
10

Written by Keith Dunn-Fernández

Keith Dunn-Fernández

An actor/director and more lucratively an Administrative Assistant at a small paper company in NYC, Keith loves his games. And he loves to write. And he is a bit of a sarcasmo.

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  • Damn! A perfect score! Think I may have to give this a try; I do love a good puzzle game. Watching the video, this also reminds me of a similar game (which required a lot of thought as this one seems to) I played on maybe the GameBoy as a kid, but I can’t recall which one.
    Nice review Keith!

    • Keith Dunn

      Thanks, Raj. This game made me smile when I completed each puzzle not JUST because I figured it out but also because of how clever the puzzles were!

  • Ian Stocker

    Honored to get this score. And happy you don’t deduct points for logical soundness of the mouse’s whereabouts while not on screen.

  • London Rhodes

    OK this wasn’t on my radar at all before now. After such high praise I’ll definitely buy it. Since its only ten bucks, why not?