What's the crucial element missing from most games nowadays? If you answered anything other than "goats", you're wrong! Jumping goats make anything better, and that's been proven. By science. Released by Llamasoft, Goatup 2 is the goatiest retro platformer you ever did see. A follow-up to the endless jumper Goatup, this sequel is slightly more traditional gameplay experience, if your idea of tradition involves minotaurs in rainbow sweaters, the Queen of England and angry toilets.
Goatup 2 plays like Manic Miner from a crazy alternate dimension. You control — what else — a goat, and each self-contained level features numerous things to collect (keys, fish, flowers, corn, cups of tea, etc.) as you bounce toward the exit. Sliding your thumb anywhere around the left side of the screen moves your goat, and tapping anywhere on the right side of the screen jumps. These controls can be reversed, though, for any southpaws out there. Glowing items (indicated by a counter on the bottom right) are required to complete the level while other items give you power-ups or extra gas-powered jumps. Adding urgency to matters is the fact that you must constantly eat grass to keep your hunger meter filled, lest your poor goat die of starvation.
If it hasn't become apparent, this is a bit of a wacky game. From the crazy sound effects to the game sprites lovingly stolen from the likes of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, Goatup 2 plays like a childhood arcade blended with Monty Python box set. While the seemingly random assortment of images can come across as bewildering at first, beneath the madness lies a pretty standard platformer, and once the initial shock wears off, it's pretty easy to get into. There's also a fairly simple-to-use level editor which allows you to modify any of the game's stages or create new ones from scratch. The editor even comes with a random level name generator, which can be used to produce such eloquent titles as "Elongated Lamb Error," "Your Mother's Legendary Madness" and "Humphrey Z. Smythe's Chocolate Fork." (The name generator is worth the price of the app alone.)
Goatup 2 is nostalgia by way of absolute absurdity, and by golly, it's lovely. The platforming is solid, the graphics are colorful and any fans of Pythonesque humor will find goat-loads of ridiculousness in this ungulate extravaganza. Just remember: There's no farting in front of the Queen.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 2. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.