Grazing Goats From A Llama-Loving Game Maker

Grazing Goats From A Llama-Loving Game Maker
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Goat Up is a love letter to perhaps the one genre of game that game maker Jeff Minter and his team at Llamasoft had never made: The platformer.

In Goat Up players control a grass-grazing goat as he makes his way up an endless series of platforms, discovering hidden items, and occasionally love, and having little baby goats.

It’s an homage to quite a few different platformers, according to Minter. In his lengthy revelation of the game, the developer talks about his love of Manic Miner, Canyon Climber, Miner 2049er and Man Goes Down. And you can see bits of each of these games in what hit the Apple Store this month for $US2.

In making this uber-platformer, Minter corrected a few things that bothered him in other games of its kind. In particular he made sure it was the sort of game that could be more fun than, in his words, “sphincter tightening.”

“I wanted to be able to bounce around on my platforms like a tiny caprine nutter, not worrying that I might die if I fell more than two inches onto a lower platform or if my hoof hadn’t been *right* at the very edge of the platform I just jumped off,” he wrote. “Sloppy, joyful, bouncy were my watchwords when designing the basic platforming action. Physics could sod off in deference to making it feel nice to play.”

The goat (Incidentally it’s the goat seen in Atari’s Canyon Climber) is moved by tilting the device or sliding a finger along the bottom of the screen. Tapping the screen makes him jump, soaring for enough time to let you make it nearly to the top of the screen, and even give you a bit of time to self-correct in flight.

The key to the game is to keep moving up as the screen auto-scrolls, the grass-covered platforms dropping away beneath you. As you jump, you can take the time to run along the grass, eating it up and gathering points. When you eat the grass you typically find an odd assortment of bonus items as well, which add to your score. Occasionally another goat shows up on the screen and if you move your goat in to score a kiss you get even more points. Better still, a few seconds later you also get a kid, a young colourful goat that follows in you trail.

As you play through the game, the number of kids you have grows, as does your colourful trail. You can use these young goats to help knock enemies out of the way higher up in the game and to help you collect bonus items.

It’s a fun, stress-free little game that hearkens back to the days when platformers were more about running around being silly, then pixel-perfect jumps and physics.

I’d highly recommend Goat Up for any fans of Llamasoft and his brand of games, and also for those of you looking for a little bit of time to kill.

Goat Up [iTunes App Store]

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