[Editor's Note: In order to deliver an accurate review of a game that purports to offer players a goat simulation, we thought it best to offer the review to an actual goat.]
Baa. Baa baa, baa. Baa!
You were expecting that, right? I can practically smell your condescension from here, in this petting zoo that I call home, where I tirelessly attempt to type out each word of this review using my cumbersome hooves on my Macbook Pro. Yes, I have a Macbook Pro. I was given it by one of the sheep that are also cooped up in this petting zoo. Sheep love Apple products.
As I bash my hooves against this fragile keyboard in the hope that they form something closely resembling a sentence (the backspace will be ruined by the end of this review), I know that you doubt whether or not a goat could successfully write a review of a video game. I doubted it too, but GameRevolution offered me this opportunity and I’ve studied a fair few game reviews and the comments, and judging from these comments it seems that everyone thinks they’re a game reviewer. So why can’t a goat be one, too?
Goat Simulator is not an accurate simulation of goat life. There is a distinct lack of 6-year-olds holding food out to you with their snotty, little hands and feces. Where are all the feces? Instead, there are a lot of explosions, headbutting innocent pedestrians, and falling over. The goat you play as appears to be “not all there,” with its tongue lazily lolling out of its mouth and its hoof-eye coordination disastrously off the mark.
Developer Coffee Stain Studios has not followed previous “realistic” Simulator games such as Euro Truck Simulator and Farming Simulator by attempting to successfully portray the life of a real-life goat, and who can blame them? I’m a goat, and I certainly wouldn’t wish to play a game in which I was tasked with recreating my day-to-day activities, such as standing up, lying down, and staring bleakly into the void during one of my frequent existential crises.
Instead, Coffee Stain Studios has created a ludicrous sandbox world and invites you to create as much mayhem in it as you please. There are challenges you’re given to complete, such as launching an item a particular distance into the sky or performing a 360 backflip with your goat, and points are awarded for practically everything you do, with easily achievable point combos too. If I were a games journalist (which I am not, but whatever floats your goat), I would compare it to Ouya’s Amazing Frog, which features exactly the same concept albeit without the potty mouth. Yes, there’s “adult humour” in Goat Simulator, which extends only to its frequent use of the words “fuck” and “shit”, and a few pop culture references scattered throughout, but the real hook of the game is its various bugs and glitches. Totes magoats.
Goat Simulator lets you fling your goat from pillar to post, bounce it on trampolines, and send it hurtling through an unsuspecting couple’s kitchen window and into a petrol station where a myriad of inevitable explosions ensue. However, throwing the goat into a series of disastrous situations is a one-note gag and it isn’t sustainable for a lengthy period of time. You’ll laugh the first time you send your goat hurtling into the sky on the back of a firework, though your laughter will diminish by the second, third, and fourth time you do it.
It reminds me of the time I was brought to the petting zoo from out of an open green field, and how I was excited by the prospect of spending the rest of my days lazing around in a pen and being gently petted by wide-eyed children. Four months later I yearn for the solitude of that field, for the parade of 5-year-olds to stop knocking at my door, for the touch of a female goat.
Goat Simulator’s longevity or lack thereof isn’t helped by the fact that it doesn’t offer you much to do. Its open-world is relatively small, and while there are a variety of fun secrets to uncover, it could’ve benefited from having a few more maps. While the game features Steam Workshop functionality that allows the community to add more maps, along with a variety of other modifications to be made to the game (my personal favourite being the “Australian Goat”, which is an upside-down goat), as it stands the title is barebones when you take into consideration its $9.99 price tag.
It could also greatly benefit from a multiplayer mode, which Coffee Stain Studios hasn’t added due to the game’s Nvidia and Apex physics engine “sychronising terribly” with multiplayer gameplay. The developer has stated that it hopes a mod implements some form of small-scale multiplayer mode using the game’s Workshop feature, though again, this feels like laziness on its behalf by essentially asking the community to make a better game out of what it's given them.
If you’re interested in buying Goat Simulator, and I wouldn’t blame you, then you should purchase it when it goes on sale. It’s not a particularly baaaad game, and it achieves what it sets out to do, but there’s not enough content there, nor hilarity outside of its initial gag, to keep you playing for more than an hour or so. It’s fun while it lasts, but it doesn’t last for long.
That said, it’s still a lot more fun than being a real goat, which is essentially one long, hellish nightmare punctuated by dribble-coated whippersnappers ceaselessly tapping me on the skull.
Copy provided by publisher. Available on PC.