Goats are having a moment. Whether it’s the runaway success of the novelty game Goat Simulator or the rapid proliferation of YouTube videos showcasing the hilarious noises they make, it’s clear the demand for goat-related entertainment is high. Now the developers at Cabygon Games are bringing Goats on a Bridge into the mix, a combination of cuddly visuals and rigorous platforming loosely adapted from the classic fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff” that has just been released!
“It’s been an amazing experience,” said co-creator Cheryl Lim about the process of bringing the game to a commercial level. “Frustrating at times, tiring at times, exhilarating at times and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.”
The player controls two goats (and a corgi, to up the cute factor even more) who are navigating a series of bridges while trying to rescue their brother from a villainous troll. The mechanics are simple enough at first – run, jump and roll past objects to reach the other side of the bridge – but it’s not long until the game throws you a curveball and challenges you to control both goats at once. The careful control needed for these segments has given the game a reputation for formidable difficulty but at no cost to the overall fun factor.
“We actually decided on what kind of mechanic we wanted in the game first, which was the one hand, one character thing,” Lim said. “The story wove its way in rather seamlessly after that.”
Goats on a Bridge was first introduced to the public as an entry in the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest. According to Lim, the 30 day time frame was nowhere near enough for the developers to finish everything they wanted to do, but the result still impressed both players and the judges.
“The biggest strength of Goats on a Bridge is that it uses a combination of short levels and adorable presentation to remain thoroughly fun and accessible despite a frustratingly high difficulty,” said IGMC judge Nick Palmer. “You will never have this much fun dying.”
The game fell just short of landing in the top 3 for its non-RPG category when the results came out, but the judges spoke highly of it and it was given a special mention by Kimberly “Sabre” Weigend, a member of the “Frag Dolls” group who served as one of the celebrity judges for the event.
“I really enjoyed my time with Goats on a Bridge,” Weigend said. “The characters are great and super super cute. I liked how the menu system was implemented and the game was fully explained.”
Degica’s staff kept the game in mind when surveying the IGMC entries for potential further development. Goats on a Bridge is the first of the entries to reemerge as a commercial game.
“We were thrilled that people were enjoying the game,” Lim said. “Some of the comments were hilarious. It’s the little things that keep us going. It was awesome when Sabre picked our game as her ‘Judge’s Choice’ and even more surprising when Degica came knocking to talk about publishing.”
In addition to preparing the game for a full PC version, Cabygon also had to create a version that could be played on mobile devices. The team recoded the game from scratch for the mobile version, a decision that Lim now regrets and believes added unnecessary difficulty to the process. Since games are played very differently on a tablet than on a keyboard or controller, converting the unique control scheme for the double-goat levels was a major challenge. However, the team persevered and are happy with both versions of the game.
The Cabygon team has more elements they would like to introduce into Goats on a Bridge over time, but there is still plenty of fun waiting for goat fans who decide to give the game a shot. The journey of the game from contest entry to commercial game is nearly complete and Lim said the experience is an example of why it pays off to pursue your interests and put your work out for the world to see.
“If you really want something, and you find the right people to work with, just go for it,” she said. “There’s no point in sitting around waiting for someone to do something tomorrow when you can do it today.”