- Platform PC, Xbox One
- Publisher Coffee Stain Studios
- Developer Coffee Stain Studios
- Release Date 01/04/2014
Goat Simulator Review – Silly Goat Gruff
Goat Simulator is a tricky game to review. It’s the Sharknado of the current gaming world, a product that sets out to be awful and tries to have fun with it. The game is a joke, and that’s not just my critique – a disclaimer on the website of developer Coffee Stain studios happily exclaims: “Goat Simulator is a completely stupid game and, to be honest, you should probably spend your money on something else, such as a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe pool your money together with your friends and buy a real goat.” Anyone seeking complex gameplay and riveting storylines, or even a genuinely serious goat simulator (do such people exist?) would be best served elsewhere.
A parody of more straight-laced simulation games such as Train Simulator and the obvious Farm Simulator (I spent a few years growing up in a rural community and will never, ever understand why people want to simulate anything involving farms except possibly burning them to the ground), Goat Simulator is all about causing as much destruction as you can while playing as a goat, which generally amounts to running around head-butting things to score points.
It works like a skateboarding game from yesteryear, but instead of being a skater, you’re a goat, and instead of doing tricks, you destroy things. For instance, break a window by head-butting it and you’ll get points, but break it by head-butting a bucket through it while doing a backflip and you’ll score even more points. Each break can be chained into multipliers and boosts, which lends the game a score-chasing feel that can be incredibly addictive once you get into it. If jump kicking a lawnmower into a man’s face and watching as he launches backwards, limbs flailing and body spasming Team Rocket style into the horizon is your idea of a good time, then Goat Simulator is worth every penny. Indeed, much of the game’s fun comes from figuring out how to use the varied and wholly destructible environment to set up huge-scoring multipliers, leading to a lot of happy accidents as you fumble around the map spreading chaos in your wake. One task given to you by the game is simply called ‘Michael Bay’ and tasks you with causing the biggest, most eye-wateringly spectacular explosions possible.
Adding to the insanity is the sheer number of bugs and glitches which Coffee Stain studios have deliberately left in.
Adding to the insanity is the sheer number of bugs and glitches which Coffee Stain studios have deliberately left in. Only game crashing bugs have been eliminated, leaving a whole range of weird and wonderful glitches for the player to discover such as objects disappearing through the floor, heads spinning 360 and human limbs randomly distending Stretch Armstrong style when you crash into them. Whether or not you find these sorts of glitches amusing or frustrating largely determines how much fun you’ll have with the game.
Where Goat Simulator really gets interesting, however, is with the range of surreal and in some cases disturbing side activities dotted around the map, such as alien abductions and gathering human sacrifices to gain demonic goat powers. These optional extras give the game an entertaining sense of discovery and stop it from becoming a mere exercise in chaos. That said, completing each task grants you new abilities to use in your quest for goat-inspired mayhem so for those who just want to mess up those pesky humans there’s still plenty of incentive to search them out.
The novelty does eventually start to wear off, however. Eventually the glitches and bonkers gameplay lose their appeal and the map is disappointingly small. Thankfully a new map and multiplayer split screen mode are on the way and will undoubtedly stretch the game’s longevity but for now its long-term appeal depends on what the Steam community can create through the Workshop. With its sandbox-style structure and loose physics there’s plenty of potential for the mod community to run rampant with the game’s creative possibilities.
Goat Simulator is a fun distraction that packs a lot of creativity into its little map but once the novelty factor wears off the game can quickly get repetitive. From a technical point of view the game is appallingly glitchy and flawed, but can that really be considered a criticism when that’s what the developers set out to achieve? It’s hard to say and ultimately whether or not the joke is on you for paying for the experience depends entirely on your own tastes.
A review code of Goat Simulator was provided courtesy of Coffee Stain Studios.
Goat Of The Year
If you love glitches, bugs and have always wanted to run rampant as a goat, this is the game for you. If any of those things sound unappealing, then you’ve goat to be crazy to even think about purchasing this one.