There is no shortage of 2D block puzzle games on any platform. Every single thing you could imagine you could do with blocks, has been put into a game. There are games with color matching, shooting, jumping, pressing switches, moving blocks around and any other thing you could think of. Although the 2D block premise has been used a lot, it doesn’t mean that a game that does it well wouldn’t be worth playing. Escape Goat 2 is one such game. What it does beautifully, is it blends together different block puzzle game mechanics and creates a smooth package with an organic difficulty curve that keeps players interested all the way through.
As the name suggests, the protagonist of Escape Goat 2 is a goat. Yes, a purple goat. A nameless purple goat, to boot. It’s like the Clint Eastwood of goats, except you don’t have any guns and your only abilities are jumping and dashing. This simple movement trifecta of double jumping, dashing and moving around comes together to create some interesting puzzle scenarios. You’ll have to push blocks, break a few and hit some switches on the way to your freedom from the place you find yourself in – the Stronghold of Toragos. On your way, you’ll also liberate a few sheep souls, because you’re a hero among goats.
You won’t be alone in your adventures through the castle though. Much like any respectable hero, you have a sidekick that you can summon at will. Your sidekick is a mouse. But not just any mouse – it’s a mouse that can scale walls, make its way through tight crawl spaces, get to switches that you physically can’t reach, distract your enemies, and do lots of other useful things. It’s a good mouse to have around in a tight spot, pun intended. As you progress through the game, you gain certain special abilities from items you collect throughout the levels. These abilities are interesting and tie into more complex puzzles in a fun way. You can interchange places with your mouse, and one ability allows you to turn into a solid block that can’t be destroyed. Conveniently, if your mouse friend dies, he respawns immediately at your side. So you basically have an immortal mouse sidekick.
The Game Play:
Escape Goat 2 introduces all of its different puzzle and gameplay mechanics to you organically, so that you never have too much on your plate. When the game wants to show you a new ability or a new mechanic, it presents you with a puzzle that revolves around that specific ability, so you’ll know how to use it as you progress through the game.
The game doesn’t allow things to get monotonous either. Most of the puzzles have some degree of flexibility with regards to how you can solve them. You can also choose your own path through the game from the main level screen. Escape Goat 2 feels like a game that has been thoroughly tested and refined. Every time you get through a scenario where you’re skeptical about the game getting repetitive, it changes the kinds of puzzles you encounter. Some puzzles will require you to think slowly and carefully about each of your moves, while others require quick reflexes and platforming skills. The game has over 100 puzzles, and none of them feel repetitive or forced.
The game doesn’t have an ‘undo’ option that lets you move back a few seconds or a few moves if you mess something up in the middle of a puzzle. You will have to restart the level. This gets annoying sometimes, but luckily it’s not a major problem. You can also take an easier path and speed run through the game without taxing your grey matter too much, but this takes most of the fun out of the game. If you take this route, you will have skipped most of the more difficult and interesting puzzles. The satisfaction that comes from solving a particularly tough puzzle through a complex sequence of moves will make your inner goat very happy.
Escape Goat 2 isn’t the most revolutionary puzzle game, but it’s a fun and well made one. The beautiful level design, crafty puzzles, organic difficulty curve and simple control scheme will bowl you over. If you’re on the lookout for a good puzzle game, you should definitely give Escape Goat 2 a try.
If you name yourself ‘Zelda’ instead of ‘Link’ in ‘The Legend Of Zelda’, you will be able to skip the first quest entirely.