Okay I get it. Goat Simulator is supposed to be stupid, broken, glitchy and perhaps nothing more than a novelty gag. The developers almost advertise it as such. It’s not a game you take seriously, even if you tried. It’s a game you’ll Twitch or YouTube all the ridiculous things you can do to this poor goat. The PC version became an internet cultural phenomenon for its bugs, crashes, shabby visuals, and terrible gameplay mechanics. Let’s face it Goat Simulator became popular for all the wrong reasons!
Yet somehow this crappy game from Coffee Stain Studios had some charming elements and offered up enough cheap laughs to warrant a spiffy new next gen version one year after its release on PC. Are the laughs enough to warrant a purchase? Well, if you are looking for something that is all hype and no substance, Goat Simulator is for you.
Much like the older Tony Hawk games, Goat Simulator drops you into two sandbox style cities, two very small sandbox cities. After travelling back and forth between the cities for about an hour, sadly I realized this was it. You get two small ugly looking cities featuring some of the worst level designs I have ever seen. There is no single player campaign, or any semblance of a storyline. Your goal is to just wander around the city with your goat ramming, jumping, licking (yes you read correctly, licking) and causing any kind of chaos you can. A fence is in the way? Just smash it over! A car is trying to run over your goat? Just ram it! A family is having a nice quiet family dinner? Screw that, turn that dinner upside down! Running amok is the name of the game and the more havoc you cause the more points you get. That is really the entire point of the game.
It’s all very amusing at first as your goat flops around in ragdoll fashion as you throw him in front of a mac truck or drop him from the top a giant crane. Then when you are done abusing your goat, you can sit back and giggle away to all the copious amount of glitches in the game. Yet wandering around with this goat (that doesn’t move like a goat at all) gets old really fast. In fact, the lack of effort into the games mechanics is readily apparent from the get go and that is one of the biggest issues I have the game; it’s broken and incomplete. I understand this is what the developers wanted to accomplish but could you not get the same cheap laughs and maybe some better gameplay with a more polished product?
Not only does your goat not move or behave as he should, neither does anything else in the game. As you smash and bash your way around the world, various glitches and clipping issues surface. Humans will hang halfway up a fence and your goat will persistently bleed into objects. It’s all fun and games when it doesn’t impede your progress but the first time your goat gets stuck and you have to restart the game, you’ll just want to walk away.
As you play the game you are given objectives and in the early going many of them are accomplished with ease. Some involve simply performing a backflip and others involve walking on your front legs. Many are easy to pull off but much like the rest of the game the lack of polish will get in the way of your progress. Good luck controlling your goat using that jetpack and likewise there is no predicting which way your goat will launch off a trampoline. It’s largely a roll of dice.
Once you are done with the challenges, obliterated everything in sight and uploaded your videos, there are small gold goat collectibles you can find and modifiers you can unlock. Some of the modifiers allow you to restart the game with various modifiers in play, such as changing the goat model to a demon goat or adding a jetpack to the goat. All are nice little add-ons but once you have found and unlocked everything there really isn’t much reason to go back playing, unless of course you have a hankering for a nonsensical goat game.
Visually, Goat Simulator is awful. Aside from some colourful animations, the graphics are dated, blocky and flat out painful to look at. They are definitely not next gen worthy. It really remains one poorly designed, ugly buggy mess. As for the sounds in the game, there are a few memorable tunes but otherwise Goat Simulations audio is like Lindsay Lohan in Vegas, a hot mess.
Goat Simulator is quite easily one of the more forgettable games I have played in recent memory. Aside from some cheap laughs and managing to somehow become an internet cultural phenomenon, this goat game offers up little in terms of any substance. Instead you get a glitch, buggy shallow experience you will ditch in a matter of days. For around $10 bucks, there are far superior games that will give you much more replay value.
***An Xbox One code was provided by the Publisher***