Jeff Minter’s games have always been accessible (with the possible exception of the delirious, divisive XBLA shooter Space Giraffe) but they’ve perhaps alienated some fans with their Pythonesque sense of humour and style. Goatup 2 doesn’t buck that trend. It may be billed as a sequel to Minter’s 2011 chaotic endless jumper, but in practice Goatup 2 feels like a different experience altogether, one that just happens to utilise and retool the original’s quirky, colourful assets.
Brought to life with Llamasoft’s trademark luminous lines and slapstick sound effects, this is a more open, autonomous and traditional platformer than Goat Up. On the surface it’s all about scavenging and scooping up items for high-scores – movement is controlled with the left thumb, jumping with a tap of the right – and farting (with a double-jump) to kill off foes as you leap and bound.
Your first playthrough, however, will involve a large amount of trial and error as you fathom the best way to escape each maze-like map before diving back in to collect all the pickups in those hard-to-reach places.
While lacking the sweaty-palmed immediacy of the first game, there’s still an element of panic here. You need to keep your goat hero fed to stay alive – grass lines each platform so it’s a case of grazing along each one as quickly as possible to keep your health gauge from depleting – and in the game’s more extravagant and difficult maps it can all be too much to juggle. But that’s clearly the point. Goat Up 2 wears its influences on its sleeve – from Pac-Man to Portal – and its attempt to blend the immediacy and pace of the former with the brain strain of the latter is a unique, effective proposition.