Escape Goat 2 has the same basic setup as the last game. You're a purple goat, who has to explore a stronghold, solving puzzles and avoiding obstacles to rescue sheep. The first thing you're likely to notice is the map system. Instead of a single hub to select which area you want to go like in the first game, there's a map that shows all of the levels you can go to. with more areas unlocking as you clear previous ones. It's better laid out than the old hub as you can readily jump to any level you have unlocked though the map, rather than skipping through levels like in the previous game, and the roughly vertical layout of the map, along with numbering each area gives a better indication of how hard any given area is with stages getting harder the further up you go.
Another major change is that while levels all still fit within a single screen, the actual size of a level is now somewhat variable, with the game's view zooming in or out to accommodate. This allows for a bit more variety in level design, as the game can close in for small, tightly packed levels, or zoom out for larger, more complicated ones, and there's a good number of both to go around.
|Some levels, like this one, are a bit smaller than the others, so the game zooms things in to compensate|
The mouse also makes it's return in Escape goat 2. Just like the last game, you can have it walk around the levels, climbing floors and ceilings, or having it sit in place. It's role however, has been greatly expanded. the mouse now has several new power ups you can get hold of. The hat that let you swap places with it returns, but there's also some new powerups you can find, like a hammer that can turn the mouse into a solid block, or a cape that lets it jump between walls, or the floor and ceiling depending on where it's standing. Some levels even allow you to have multiple mice to work with. There's even some levels that are almost entirely reliant on the mouse. Overall the game does a great job of taking advantage of using these new abilities to make some interesting puzzles.
|Fire can slowly spread through crates.|
The level editor also makes a return from the previous game, along with some good news and some bad news. The good news is this time the level editor has Steam workshop support, making user made levels readily accessible and while there's not a massive level making community, there's a good number available on the game's workshop page. The bad news is that's on the Steam version and this game is not exclusive to Steam. I'll note I only have the Steam version, so I'm not sure what the situation with the level editor is outside of Steam. I did do a little Googling to try and find places to download user made levels, but couldn't find any. So note user made levels might not be readily available outside Steam. Fortunately, the level editor isn't the primary focus of the game, so it's not a major loss if non-steam copies can't readily access it or levels made with it, but it's something to keep in mind when deciding where to get the game from.
|The map is a stained glass window, that slowly fills in as you complete levels.|
What Escape goat 2 got rid of the first game's pixel art, it fortunately kept the soundtrack. Escape goat 2's soundtrack picks up form where the first left off, giving more catchy, epic sounding chiptunes. The soundtrack's only a bit longer than the original games, 14 tracks instead of 9, but they're all good, especially Caper Erratus, the track that plays over the end credits. I'd highly recommend that if you don't get the game, at least give the soundtrack a listen on Bandcamp. Sound meanwhile is pretty good. There's not a lot to the game's sound, mostly you'll be hearing the sound of turning gears and moving stone, backed by the occasional fwoosh form a reapers fireball, or the sound of breaking wood, but sound quality is nice across the board and doesn't detract too much from the awesome music.
|You're ultimate goal in each area to free sheep, like this one.|
Also, there's a couple points in-game that require you to do things either very quickly or with some fairly precise timing and those were likely the games weakest points. Escape Goat works best when it plays somewhat slowly, giving you time to look the level over and think things through. So when they need you to time things or work quickly, it's kind of jarring and just doesn't sit well with me, especially when the game usually gives you some margin of error, or at least makes getting stuck in a level more a matter of doing things improperly rather than simply not being fast enough. Though as bad as these moments are, they're fortunately rare.
Overall, This is pretty much a no-brainer, almost everything Escape Goat 1 does, Escape Goat 2 does much better. If you liked the first game, defiantly get this. If you haven't tried either game yet however, you might want to try the first game and see if you like it before getting into this, as it's cheaper, and the core gameplay is pretty similar.
Escape goat 2 was developed by MagicalTimeBean and published by Double Fine Productions. It is available on Steam and GoG. It's homepage is available here. It's soundtrack is available on Bandcamp.