Developer: Double 11, Coffee Stain Studios
Publisher: Double 11
Available: Xbox One, Xbox 360
Release Date: April 2015
Download Size: 878 mg
Goat Simulator… I mean, who in their right mind would think this is a good idea for a game? I’d love to know how it was pitched:
“Um… so in this game… you play as a goat.”
“Yeah, and yo-…….”
But Coffee Stain Studios, undeterred by a lack of faith in goats as a gaming protagonist, decided to follow their dreams and create Goat Simulator, and to be fair, made a huge amount of success from it already, before it was ported to the Xbox One. Not bad when you consider that the game itself is basically the same joke told a thousand times over.
Okay, let’s take a step back. This isn’t necessarily a game, not by any conventional sense of the word. Sure, it features game elements, like a score and combo system, plus a series of objectives to achieve, but that isn’t the point. There is no discernable endgame to speak of, beyond pure dicking about. The main menu sums it up perfectly by describing Goat Simulator as a “physics playground”, with the object of the game is to see what happens when a goat messes about with the physics of a simulated world. The problem that stems from that is what happens when you’ve found that answer. Where is the appeal?
Goat Simulator poses such striking intellectual questions like “What happens when a goat headbutts a petrol station?”, or “What would a ragdolling goat on a trampoline look like?”, or even “What happens when a goat with a infinitely elongatable, indestructible and perpetually sticky tongue, attaches itself to a car doing donuts? Or a hang glider?” Now, these are all valid queries, and I was curious to find out what the answer would be. And now I know, and now I don’t need to do it again, and therein lies the issue.
Goat Simulator is, essentially, a one trick pony at it’s very core, and that trick is to watch a goat fall over in a variety of ways. It’s a cute trick, and it does get a few laughs. A goat sporting a jetpack, flying around the map and causing general chaos is a recipe for some slapstick humour. But the well dries up rather quickly, leaving you bored and lacking anything really meaningful to do.
That being said, there is some fun to be had exploring the two areas on offer, as you’ll never know what you might find. Exploring the Bay Area led me to a spooky graveyard and the occasional jump scare, in what can only be described as a thinly veiled Slender reference… Needless to say, I headbutted the monster right in the gonads and beat a hasty retreat.
Further exploration will lead you to becoming Queen of the Goats, getting abducted by aliens, equipping yourself with a jetpack, trashing a Deadmau5 concert and becoming embroiled in a fight with the Ninja Turtles, to name but a few. It’s a veritable showcase of misadventures and downright preposterousness that does raise a good laugh or two, but again, once you’ve seen it for the first time, the joke depreciates very quickly.
You also unlock modifiers as you go along, either by discovering these instances as you explore or by finding collectibles scattered across the two maps. Just like the rest of the game, these offer new ways to play the game (Giraffe Simulator, anyone?), but once it’s been seen once, there’s no need for you to see it again, beyond perhaps Angel Goat and Double Jump which can really aid you in getting around the maps.
I think my reliance on one point has helped to reinforce what I’m getting at when I say that Goat Simulator is a “one and done affair”. Some people might read this and think that I’ve taken Goat Simulator a bit too seriously, but what I have to say to that is where are the alternative diversions? What else is on offer here other than messing about in a sandbox? There’s only so much repetition a guy can take before he gets supremely bored, and here you’ll likely hit the wall quicker than usual. Goat Simulator is a novel idea, and starts out fun, but gets old about as quickly as waterboarding. Watch someone else play it, you’ll have about as much fun.
Overall: I would say it’s Baaaaaaa-d, but that’d be a waste of a good pun.