Review: Goat Simulator

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I believe there are two main reasons as to why we play games. The first is to have fun. The second, to challenge ourselves. With Goat Simulator, we should probably be a little less reliant on the second option and lean heavily on the first. Those who enjoyed games like the Tony Hawk or Skate It series should get a kick and a slight sense nostalgia when playing Goat Simulator, even though a skateboard is not directly involved… well not all the time anyway.

Coming into Goat Simulator I expected something quite tamer than what I was presented. I was looking for a washing line to steal clothes from, vegetable gardens to feast upon and people to terrorise. I never expected to be able to destroy a car with two head butts or be able to launch human beings further with a single kick than an Olympic athlete can hurl a javelin. Rampant destruction was certainly welcome, but the level of said destruction is certainly something to behold.

Just because this is a game about a goat doesn’t mean it is suitable for kids.

I found this out the hard way.

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The rating of this game rapidly rolled towards the darker classification labels as my kids discovered a flaming goat throne and kneeling goat subjects. Suddenly, their goat had just a skull for a face. They later found an underground pipe line, where the gentlemen who occupied the location — dressed in colours not that different to a band of amphibians who poses martial arts skills, I might add — decided it was in their best interests to beat the snot out of the goat. That was opposed to other folk in the game who just cowered in fear after the first confrontation. There is also a Goat Fight Club — not that I didn’t expect the odd battle for domination with another Alpha Goat — but this is almost something you’d see on an episode of Animal Cops: Philadelphia.

One element that really adds the fun is that of Mutators, a selection of traits that can be added to your goat before you begin you game, or earned or collected during your adventures. Mutators can be switched on and off easily via the menu should you feel they are not for you. These do not only provide you with abilities like double jump, slow motion falling and a pungent stench but can also transform you into other animals like, giraffes, ostrich and a penguin. Each animal has their advantages and disadvantages; give them all a try.

Controlling your goat isn’t always an easy process. The button configuration for Goat Simulator is not complex, it may just be the controls themselves are a little difficult to time. Much like the skateboarding games mentioned previously, you will need to complete tricks and actions to gain points. These can vary for from basic jumping over things to causing mass destruction. As you do with a skateboard, you will have to ‘manual’ with your goat by walking and balancing on its front legs. I found this extremely difficult and couldn’t even complete the achievement at the easy level. That being said I am unsure whether I was just terrible at it or the mechanism/controls are actually broken. Your goat will actually have to venture into a bit of ‘mammal parkour’, to coin a phrase, with wall runs and jumps being an intricate part of gameplay.

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There are multiple areas to explore, with various terrains and environments, both interior and exterior. I found myself attempting to scale the highest peaks, multiple times, just to see if there was a reward for doing so.  You will also find the Coffee Stain studio and be able to give that a bit of a ransacking. Oh, and if you see a ladder, don’t fret, goats can climb them, even vertical ones… What? You didn’t know that?

One downfall Goat Simulator on Xbox One has that it is extremely shaky in its presentation: buggy and riddled with glitches; so much so that the title “Simulator” could be easily replaced with Super Fun Goat Time, or something of that ilk. Ragdoll physics are over the top, even more than most skating games that I’ve played. Bodies will bend, the goat included, in all sorts of uncomfortable looking directions, with limbs and objects melding with each other; the results looking slightly messy. With that in mind, Coffee Stain Studios are extremely open about the amount of bugs in the game. The following are feature points of Goat Simulator, as listed on the Coffee Stain Studios website:

  • MILLIONS OF BUGS! We’re only eliminating the crash-bugs, everything else is hilarious and we’re keeping it
  • In-game physics that spazz out all the time

Apparently, Goat Simulator was created in the space of just a few weeks, so I guess bugs are to be expected.

Goat Simulator was reviewed using a promotional copy of the game on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher.

 

Review: Goat Simulator
7 out of 10

The good

  • As Coffee Stain Studios said, you get to be a goat.
  • Plenty to do and find.
  • Just plain fun.

The bad

  • Bugs and glitches can become annoying.
  • Some Mutators are pointless.
  • Don’t go in with high hopes.

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