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Portabliss: GoatUp (iOS)


Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: GoatUp.

So I've been playing this game about a goat and ... why, yes, it is a Jeff Minter game! How did you guess?

GoatUp, Minter's first platformer, is the expression of seemingly every Minter trope in one tiny, touch-controlled package. That means it's a score-based game with millions of incredibly random things happening all over the screen, flashing bitmap text everywhere, and items and areas that serve as references I'd surely find nostalgic if I had grown up playing European computer games.

It's also the first iPhone platformer I've played in which the tilt controls are actually preferable to touch controls. The platforming is very loose, so that you can run and jump kind of haphazardly and still land on a platform. The default control scheme allows you to run left and right by tilting, and jump by tapping the bottom of the screen, which actually grants you enough precision to play successfully.

And by "play successfully" I mean "make a goat climb a tower of grassy platforms, eating grass, picking up hundreds of items and spontaneously generating baby goats, who trail behind you after the fanfare of 'Congoatulations!'"

GoatUp is available on iTunes for $1.99 for the iPad and iPhone. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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