Goat Simulator, is first and foremost, a spoof on the simulator game genre. With so many games claiming to be able to simulate this and that, Goat Simulator challenges players to step into the shoes of one of the world’s most boring animals and walk about a sandbox environment to do whatever they please. It sounds stupid and it actually is, but it’s so ridiculous and strangely captivating that you just want to keep playing this silly game, glitches and all.
Developed by Coffee Stain Studios and Double Eleven / Published by Double Eleven
Available on the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Reviewed on the Xbox One.
*Review code provided by Double Eleven
Goat Simulator is all about the gameplay, pushing players to literally do whatever they want in a physics-based world that has no rules. The world is full of people, cars, objects of various uses, houses, and more, and players are encouraged to explore and cause as much mayhem they want for the sake of a high score. Players are thrown into the stage, given a basic set of controls, and are let loose to their own devices, be it to terrorize the residents, destroy everything in sight, or act as realistic as a goat can be. It’s all the player’s choice, and for being such a ridiculous concept, it’s actually quite entertaining, at least for a short while.
The goats come equipped with the most basic of movesets, and yet, they can do so much thanks to the variety of stuff found in-game. Players move the goat from a third-person perspective and proceed to jump, lick, ram, climb, and bah their way to victory, or use their extraordinary skills to wreck lives and structures. Other than some small challenges that have players doing specific tasks to score points – like flinging objects through a large distance, doing backflips, or standing on two legs in a Tony Hawk-like manual mini-game, it’s mostly up to the player to come up with things to do.
And there’s plenty to do, believe you me. The world is your playground, and many types of activities are available, either created by the developers or crazy stuff you’ll come up with. You can attack people, cause loads of destruction, explore the environment, collect hidden collectables, ride jetpacks, shoot baseballs from a launcher, and even ride bicycles (though very badly), among other things. Then there’s hidden missions, which when completed, actually transform your goat and grant them special powers. Behave well for a time, and it’ll become an angel, granting players a hovering ability. Take out the top goats in the area in a local, small fight club, and your goat will buff up, offering stronger ram attacks. There’s so many hidden goodies in the game, that players may be occupied for hours if they like checking everything out.
Then the game also comes with mutators to extend the experience even more. These change up the game from the get go, like granting a jet pack right from the start, or access to a double jump, while others transform the goat in hilarious ways, like making it have a Dragonborn shout or the capability to turn licked objects into bombs.
Finally, the game also has split-screen multiplayer, allowing up to four players to play together in one instance and create chaos in the game world. Playing alone is a good and all, but playing with others and creating scenarios is an even better time, and the game also has multiplayer challenges to keep things interesting.
Unfortunately, not all is well in Goat Land. The first problem is that the game has a ton of glitches and mishaps going on at various times. It can get pretty messy, more often than not, with the goat and its body parts clipping through the environment, getting stuck on the level geometry, and more. Then there’s everything else, like weird animations or clipping in NPCs, freaky ragdoll physics, disappearing objects, framerate dips and other strange issues. I understand that all of these issues and semi-broken state are part of the game’s appeal, but unless you’re into that type of thing, it can grow tiresome quickly.
The second problem is that the whole experience can lose its appeal very quickly, perhaps too quickly. Outside of the bizarre and random fun you’ll be having at the beginning, there’s just not enough reason to stick to the game for longer than a couple of hours. You got a couple of missions and loads to do, but there’s really no purpose to it all, other than just doing whatever you want. If you’re the type who likes to break the boundaries in what you can do in a game and push the limits, then this game is perfect for you, but if you’re looking for something deep and rewarding, then you might get bored after a while. It won’t be apparent at first, but there’s only so much you can do in this game.
Coffee Stain Studios and Double Eleven’s Goat Simulator is good, wacky fun that’ll have you giggling at all the absurdity you’ll see onscreen, but at the end of the day, it’s only entertaining for so long. Fans of weird, gimmicky casual games will instantly fall in love with this game, but other’s will play for a while and then move on. It’s an entertaining game for sure, but the length of fun all really depends on the player.