My mom has spent more time in her life commenting on the pigsty-like status of my room than she has playing video games. She doesn’t know a D-pad from a shoulder button.
However, I discovered that this lack of experience actually makes her an incredibly honest (and hilarious) game reviewer. Last time, I had her critique Dark Souls II, which went just about as well as you’d expect.
This time, a developer actually reached out to us. Specifically, Ian Stocker of MagicTimeBean, the independent developer behind Escape Goat 2 for PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Linux. Stocker wanted my mom to give his 2D platformer a look, and we were only too happy to oblige.
Mom: I have to play the game? What do the buttons do now?
Mike Minotti: I don’t know. I haven’t played this game. This game is called Escape Goat 2. It was sent to me, actually, by Ian Stocker, who made the game, because he wanted you to review it specifically.
Mom: OK. Hope I do good, Ian.
Mike: But be objective, now. He says that you might appreciate the nonviolence of it. There are no swords or shields in this one.
[I show my mom the e-mail I got from Ian, which includes a picture of him.]
Mom: Oh, Ian, you’re cute.
Mom: What’s he holding?
Mike: Some sort of farm animal. Looks like a calf.
Mom: Awww. It’s a goat, I bet.
Mike: Maybe it’s a goat.
[I start the game.]
Mike: I think it’s some kind of puzzle game. Press start.
Mom: Where’s start?
Mike: That one.
Mom: Oh. You’re in my light.
Mike: That’s just the light’s fault. Push A to play.
Mom: OK. Oh, poor little goat. Do you know what I gotta do … ? I have to get the fire?
Mike: I don’t know what you have to do. Just explore.
Mom: How do I make him jump up there?
Mike: You can jump again when you’re in the air. Push A when you’re by the exclamation point.
Mom: Let me get the fire.
Mike: You can’t get the fire.
Mom: What’s fire there for?
Mike: It’s just like an atmospheric thing. Get that other exclamation mark, to the left.
Mom: Oh, Lord.
Mike: You just have to jump and get it.
Mom: How am I going to get there?
Mike: Jump and then jump again, see? Tilting the controller as you jump does not help. Go on that other platform first.
Mom: Well, I gotta get back on this one. … Wait, wait. OK. Turn him around. Jump.
Mike: You always stop before you jump.
Mom: I need a running start.
Mike: Do the double jump at the height of your first jump. There you go. Now push A when you’re over it. Why do you lift the controller up as you jump? That doesn’t help! Get on the platform first.
Mom: Oh, oh. OK.
Mike: You understand how you can jump again while you’re in the air? Try it right now.
Mom: Yeah, yeah. OK.
[My mom then spends a lot of time double-jumping … poorly.]
Mom: See, that’s why I never got past the first Mario.
[My mom keeps trying to make the jump.]
Mike: You’re a little short that time. It’s all right, though.
Mom: Oh, lord.
Mike: No, you’ll get there. You’ve almost got it. No, no, get that running start. You’ve mastered the double jump at least. It’s like all you do now. There you go. Almost.
Mom: Jeez! I’ll be on this part all day. Ah, that was in my way.
Mike: The fire that you wanted earlier.
Mom: I can’t get this stupid goat to go on that ledge! Aaagh! What do up and down do?
Mom: I’m getting worse.
Mike: No, no, you got this.
Mom: The fire was in the way. I gotta get up this way. OK. Turn around. Tell me when to go. A. …
Mike: A, A. A little too soon with the second A. You’ll get the feel for it. Just watch and do it when he’s at the height of his jump, you know? You’re doing it too soon again there. You’re just going left to right and double jumping.
Mom: Well, I’ve gotta get there eventually.
Mike: No, you gotta try! Don’t use trial and error.
Mom: Agh! My hands are sweaty.
Mike: You’re getting frustrated. You need to calm down. All right. Go right. See, like that. Do it like that every time.
Mom: Penny could do this better than me.
Mike: Penny’s our dog, in case anyone’s wondering who that is.
Mom: I wish it would stop raining.
Mike: The rain isn’t your problem.
Mom: He’s looking at me like I’m stupid.
Mike: Go to the right, get a running start, and just jump at the last second. There you go! See? That’s the way to do it.
Mom: But now I have to get there!
Mike: Just do what you just did!
Mom: But how long is it going to take me?
Mike: Just do it right the first time.
Mom: Oh, something moved. Now where do I go?
Mike: Go get that key.
Mom: Where’s the key?
Mike: Look. It’s right there.
Mom: I have to jump all the way over there?
Mike: It’s down. You don’t have to jump.
Mom: I go down now?
Mike: Yeah. You’re fine.
Mom: Wheeeee … OK.