Review: Danger Goat
nDreams' charming puzzler Danger Goat has arrived on Google Daydream.
nDreams hasn’t shied away from mobile virtual reality (VR), with two titles currently available for Gear VR and Google Cardboard. It comes as no surprise then, that the UK studio is ready with a new IP at the launch of Google Daydream: Danger Goat. A puzzle videogame that makes keen use of the Google Daydream’s unique controller, Danger Goat isn’t the VR videogame you’ve been asking for, but it is a welcome addition to the Google Daydream catalogue.
The immediate introduction to Danger Goat is one that centres on humour. Just as with nDreams’ appealing Starship Troopers influenced marketing campaign for Samsung Gear VR launch title Gunner, so too does Danger Goat benefit from some inspired presentation. The recently rebooted Danger Mouse could be seen as the inspiration here, but the theme tune and short video deserve praise however close to existing Britishisms they come.
As for the videogame itself? Danger Goat is a puzzle experience that lies somewhere between ilomilo and classic board game Mouse Trap. The player is presented with a 3D map – starting small but quickly growing in size – filled with obstacles. They have indirect control over the titular goat as they attempt to guide it from checkpoint-to-checkpoint without falling victim to the various traps.
Beginning simply enough, the player is taught the rules of object interaction; clicking on a precarious rock and rotating the angle of the controller so as to cause it to fall, either removing an obstacle or creating a new path. It’s simple challenges such as this that fill the majority of the experience in Danger Goat, but the complexity comes in the choice of multiple routes with different outcomes based on decisions made early in each level.
Once the challenge increases it’s wise to survey each map before beginning. Simply placing a thumb upon the controller’s touchpad and swiping in the opposite direction will rotate the angle at which the player views the map, thus giving the opportunity to see all of the obstacles that lie ahead and plan accordingly. However, mistakes can still be made, and achieving a three-star finish (with one star removed for each unfortunate end to the goat) is not as easy as it may initially seem.
The puzzling gameplay of Danger Goat is an enjoyable experience, but it’s actually the visual design that is the videogame’s greatest strength. The map design and obstacles given a brightly coloured, cartoonish appearance allow for quick and accurate interpretation of each challenge. The goat is well animated to convey a sense of disbelief at your mistakes (of which, there will be many) and the growing scale of each level will often instigate an exasperation as you begin to plan your advance.
As with nDreams’ other mobile titles, Gunner and Perfect Beach, Danger Goat is likely to be imitating within the VR space. However, the careful exposition of puzzles and increasing challenge will make it difficult for copy-cats to exceed the quality of the gameplay here. nDreams’ growing experience as a VR developer shows in Danger Goat, even if the videogame misses a few notes in longevity and accessibility.