Escape Goat Platform: Xbox Live Indie Games (Xbox 360) Price: 240 MSP / $3 USD Developer: Magical Time Bean This kid is no whipping boy… Pun-ish Meant The developers of Soulcaster I & II, Magical Time Bean, put their best hoof forward with their latest Xbox Live Indie Game. Due to its clever play on words for the title and high quality cover art, Escape Goat immediately caught my attention. The game’s visuals are done in a cool, retro 8-bit style somewhat reminiscent of title such as Kid Icarus and Castlevania. Probably the only style you can get away with having a magic purple goat as a protagonist as well…. Being 8-bit styled, the animations are naturally very limited. This gives the game an authentic retro feel. As for the audio, it’s not quite chip-tune, landing somewhere between that and instrumental on the smoothness scale. Fire down below... Sheepish Goals Escape Goat is a puzzle-platformer. After an introductory five-level tutorial introducing you to your mouse sidekick, buttons and the various other items and obstacles that you will encounter, you emerge into the game’s hub, known as “The Gathering Place”. Here you can choose from several doors leading to sets of five themed levels. As you complete areas and rescue more of the slumbering sheep, more doors open. Altogether, there are about 55 levels including the tutorial and 10 level finale. There is a mild difficulty curve throughout most of the game however, with a few standouts like the “Engine of Insanity” levels and a few from the top tier zones including the finale. Go Goat gadget mouse! Mouse Around While the game is on the short side, the gameplay mechanics are well developed. Being a platformer, you of course have the classic double-jump, which will get you most of the places you want to go without getting your goat. For those unreachable spots, your mouse friend comes to the rescue. He can crawl through tight tunnels, up walls and even upside down on ceilings. You can lay him down for a nap in convenient places, like on top of a spring switch for instance. Many of the levels also feature a magic hat for your mouse, allowing you to swap places with your rodent companion. Goat Ahead I completed the game the first time in a little over three hours. Escape Goat is just starting to tap into the gameplay magic when the game ends. All in all, as short as the experience is, it’s still cheaper and more fun than a lot of other forms of entertainment. There is even a full level-editor included for building and testing your own devious dungeons. Sadly, I had started to lose faith in the Indie Games platform lately (”Indie Uprising” games notwithstanding), but games like Escape Goat have managed to restore a bit of the wonder for me. Pros: +Gameplay mechanics +Style & graphics +Level editor Cons: -Game’s length -Anti-climactic ending Escape Goat scores 8.75/10 for showing a bit of video game magic, if ever so briefly. A review copy was used to evaluate the game.