After 3 years MagicalTimeBean has done it again. Escape Goat 2 has finally come and I must say it was a real treat. Never heard of Escape Goat? Well you’re missing out. The game is a quirky arcade style puzzle game starring a Goat and his companion, a mouse that helps him solve puzzles in an attempt to rescue sheep in a dangerous prison tower. The newest entry takes the original formula and puts it on steroids with high resolution graphics and not only is the game lengthier than its predecessor it offers many new features without changing the core mechanics of the game which in itself makes this a steller sequel to an already steller indie game.

The original game had you dashing and smashing crates, pressing switches, avoiding hazards and not getting burnt to a crisp by fireball flinging reapers. All of that returns here with much more complexity and at times a much higher difficulty so don’t expect an easy romp through this game. The original’s sole power up was a magic hat that would allow you to switch places with your rodent friend for getting out of tight situations and for completing levels where parts of the level will seal you in. That power up returns in the sequel but added to the mix are 3 new abilities for your mouse to utilize for getting out of the tower alive. The new additions include a cape that turns your mouse into a flying projectile that can not only smash crates but destroy reapers and saw blades, a hammer that turns your mouse into a block that can be used to press pressure plates, cut off electrodes and crush your enemies and finally what I felt was a really cool but under utilized ability was the Alter of the Necromouser. This last ability isn’t so much a power up but an environmental tool that when your mouse is placed in it you are given the ability to spawn up to 4 zombie mice for solving puzzles that require more then just the goat and your mouse to solve. The part that really makes this game so much fun is how the levels are setup. The puzzles are designed around moving blocks and switches along with barrels, trapdoors and moving hazards that all work together in a manically genius Rube Goldburg-esque manner. Sometimes I couldn’t wrap my brain around how they thought these things up even after playing with the originals included Level Editor. With all that is happening in some levels you really need to think about how you are going to solve the level and in most cases (at least for me) that meant countless deaths before achieving victory. In later levels the insanity built to levels where the game knew you were frustrated, I’m not kidding, they programmed it so after so many deaths on a level the option “Quit” becomes “Rage Quit” which I found hilarious. However even with all these new additions to the game the game still only really featured one new addition to the enemies and hazards you will enounter in your journey. While definitely not something that spoils the game by a long shot MagicalTimeBean had an good opportunity to add new enemies to the mix along with the cool new toys for the mouse but didn’t, but you’ll probably be too busy not being crushed, chopped up or burnt on your quest to rescue the many sheep trapped in the tower.

Graphics wise, this is a huge jump from the retro 8-bit visuals of the original. Here you have some really clean high resolution sprites and background to compliment the new complexity and grander scale of this sequel. Also it features some really dynamic lighting effects which were not present in the original and its a very nice effect. Light and shadow are effected by everything in the environment and when you set off an exploding crate or barrel the room simply lights up adding to the mayhem. Blocks cast shadows and when the level mechanics kick in and the tiles change configuration you get a real sense of depth which was simply not present in the 8-bit goat’s foray.

The sound in this game is spectacular. Ian Stocker has once again created a soundtrack that is both memorable and really sets the mood of the game. The remastered tracks from the original along with the new tracks all really add to the overall enjoyment of this game. The sound effects are clean and appropriate nor do they annoy to detract from the game.

I highly recommend everybody check this game out, it has good length, spectacular presentation as well as a bunch of secrets for you to unlock and as I mentioned earlier the original came with a level editor for creating your own levels. There are plans to release such a tool at a later date through Steamworks so that will be something else to extend your goat-centric adventures. As for me I hope we’ll be seeing more of our purple friend in the future!

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