Here we are, onto the fourth game from Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project, GoatUp. This one is a good one. Not that the previous ones weren't, but this one is really good. Really, I mean it! What other games on iOS (or any other platform, really) do you get to play as a goat? Isn't that what everyone's always wanted in a game? I mean, to play as a goat? Of course it is! And if it wasn't...well, you'll change your mind after checking this one out.
As I stated above, and it's worth repeating here, you play as a goat. I just had to mention that just in case you missed it. Not only do you play as a goat, but you play as a goat going up, hence the title of the game. It would be a little, um, odd, if your goat went down. Although Mr. Minter agrees, apparently, it wouldn't be the same as GoatDown, even with the obvious play on words.
So yes, you play as a goat that goes up. Which is interesting as the game was influenced by the Atari 2600 game Man Goes Down (same inspiration for our own game, Downfall. Yes, I'm shameless.). So instead of going down, you go up. Ok, ok, I'll get on with it. Not only does your goat go up during the course of gameplay, but your goat hops from platform to platform, munching on grass, other unmentionable stuff, or even the platform itself on some levels. As your goat does this, collectible objects appear, which your goat can collect. For what apparent reason, I'm not really sure, but the objects are nothing out of the ordinary. For a Llamasoft game, that is.
Not only do you collect objects, but you also get to kiss other goats. Now, I can't say that bestial sexual innuendo has been a staple of Llamasoft games (ok, actually it has), but it's a core part of this one. After kissing goats and munching on platforms, your little she-goat pops out small baby goats, which will of course follow you around quite closely as you hop and munch from platform to platform. Your baby goats are pretty useful, as they can grab collectibles for you as well as killing the various baddies that you'll encounter. Somehow, they're able to hit baddies with no repercussions, but your she-goat can't. If you bump a baddie, you'll lose a baby goat. Life is unfair like that, I guess. So you need to avoid hitting those baddies unless you managed to grab one of the various power-ups that lets you do so without getting hurt. You also need to avoid going down, as apparently any further innuendo in the game will prompt sudden death. Or at least falling past the bottom of the screen will.
Any game which requires you to hop from platform to platform while trying not to fall off the bottom of the screen benefits greatly from good controls. GoatUp would be one of those games. While platform gaming is often not best controlled on a touchscreen, GoatUp has pretty darn good controls, even if they can be a little slippery from time to time. As is the trend here, Mr. Minter appears to be writing the book on how to do this well on a touchscreen. The control scheme involves moving your she-goat left/right by sliding your finger in the appropriate direction on one side of the screen, while jumping by tapping on the other side. The controls are also quite customizable, as you can switch between which side of the screen does what, and even select a mode where tilting your device in the direction takes the place of moving with the touchscreen. However, the default controls are definitely the best and work quite well.
As is definitely par for the course with any Llamasoft game, the graphics are simplistic but very colorful, and the audio is up to the usual standards. GoatUp marks a return to the classic blocky pixelated graphics that are part of the appeal of most of the Minotaur Project releases so far, this time seemingly giving a nod to the C64 and Spectrum based on some of the color schemes encountered throughout the game. The steep difficulty curve is also there, as it is all too easy to fall off the bottom of the screen at times, and effectively end your quest for the top. However, the difficulty does scale nicely, and shouldn't prevent most newbies from progressing far enough within their first few minutes of the game.
GoatUp is yet another quality release from Llamasoft, quite worthy of anyone's iOS gaming collection, and definitely one of the best platform games for that, um, platform. Again, the more than reasonable price of $1.99 should not dissuade anyone from giving it a go(at). Ok, ok, I really will stop now!