Over the years simulator games have allowed us to run our own farms, drive trucks across the country, become airplane pilots – the list is endless. People have been able to live the dream, virtually of course, though most of the time that’s good enough.
I don’t know how many people have dreamt of living the life of a goat, but after my time with Goat Simulator: The Bundle I feel like I finally have a dream to achieve. I mean, who wouldn’t want to run around head-butting objects and swinging people around with their tongue, all whilst taking down hordes of zombies or partaking in a quest in a medieval kingdom?! Ok, so maybe it’s not an accurate representation of a goat’s life, but does it matter when you’re having so much fun?
For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, Goat Simulator allows you to cause havoc as a goat in small sandbox environment full of bugs, glitches and utter insanity. It started life as a joke prototype game, but its popularity has resulted in not only a full-fledged release across multiple platforms but a number of expansions too – GoatZ, a goat themed zombie simulator, and Goat MMO Simulator, a simulated MMO set in a medieval goat filled world.
Gameplay consists of causing chaos in a variety of different ways, be it smashing through a house, dragging an innocent bystander around with your ridiculously long and sticky tongue or by somehow launching your goat from one end of the map to another via the use of a ridiculous slide and trampoline combination. Those are just tame examples too – you’ll also be blowing up buildings, venturing through space and taking on giant spiders. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. You’ll constantly discovering all new and zany ways to have fun in Goat Simulator.
Similar to the likes of the Tony Hawk franchise, each action you perform is awarded with a certain amount of points which you’re then able to increase with multiplier bonuses, provided you perform them in a quick combo with other actions. It’s a simple concept, though you’ll often find yourself ignoring score building and just having fun playing as a goat.
Controls are fairly straightforward with different buttons assigned to standard goat-like tasks such as letting out a goat cry, head butting, sticking your tongue to objects or going into a limp ragdoll like state. Whilst the goat cry and head-butting are pretty straight forward, the tongue sticking and ragdoll mode may need some explanation. You can stick your tongue to nearly anything in the game, allowing you the opportunity to either drag something around with you or alternatively have something drag you along – there’s nothing quite like hitching a ride with a car as it speeds through a town or even attaching yourself to a fairground ride whilst it’s in full motion.
The ragdoll mode sets up some hilarious situations too, with a quick press of the B-button sending your goat to the ground a limp state. This is particularly useful when you’re heading down slides or bouncing on trampolines, especially since it amps up the velocity and power in which your goat will get launched around. You’re also able to watch everything unfold in slow-mo, allowing for some fantastic shots of a limp, airborne goat. Glorious.
Of course, Goat Simulator wouldn’t be half as fun if it wasn’t for the insane locations you wreak havoc in. The main action takes place across two maps that are inter-connected and filled to the brim with things to do and discover. There’s the fighting ring where you can take part in goat fights, the low gravity testing facility, the pentagram where you can sacrifice humans and there’s even a size changing pit that allows you to model all different sizes of goat. You’re even able to travel to space, and with the right amount of exploration you may discover a certain group of turtles hidden in the sewers. You’re constantly discovering crazy new things to do, making the world of Goat Simulator a real treat to explore.
There’s a ton of objectives to complete that are unique to each map too. There’s the standard ‘high score’ and ‘airtime’ goals that you’d expect to see, but there’s also more unusual ones – take the ‘Michael Bay’ goal for example that challenges you to create a mighty explosion by blowing up a gas station. There’s a good variety of objectives to complete that require you to complete the most insane of tasks – you’ll be surprised how many you discover on accident too whilst experimenting in the game. There’s also a ton of collectibles to find in each map, taking the form of a goat trophy. It’s something extra for those with a keen eye to discover on their goating adventure
You’ll also unlock power-ups known as ‘mutators’ when you complete challenges or find trophies. These mutators consist of things such as the ability to summon a group of peasants to follow you, the ability to take on a different form (these include the like of penguins, giraffes and dinosaurs) as well as the use of rocket skates. They’re all a bit of silly fun and often break the game a little, but does that really matter when you consider Goat Simulator actually considers all of its bugs and glitches a feature?
Yes, Goat Simulator has an absolute ton of bugs and glitches. However, whilst this would be typically considered a flaw in most games, Goat Simulator developers Coffee Stain Studios actually consider it a feature. In fact, they’ve vowed never to fix any bugs you find in the game. Whilst this sort of thing would generally be considered bad practice, it actually works perfectly in Goat Simulator. The clipping, the physics going out of control, things disappearing – somehow they all seem to add to the bizarre experience.
The game manages to play decently though and I never had any game breaking crashes. The game actually runs quite well, though the graphics aren’t particularly great. Whilst the game isn’t particularly ugly, I can’t help but to feel like the game looks like a mish-mash of assets from a variety of different games. It’s not a problem though – Goat Simulator is all about providing insane fun and it offers that in abundance.
Of course, there’s a lot more than the standard Goat Simulator on offer in the bundle. GoatZ sees the occurrence of a zombie outbreak that is actually caused by your goat’s burps. This mode tasks you with taking out zombies whilst maintaining your hunger and health. It takes a more survival sim approach to the game, offering a whole new way to enjoy the Goat Simulator experience. You’re also able to craft items by licking them and taking them to a crafting station, again taking inspiration from survival simulator titles.
Then you have the Goat MMO Simulator expansion. It’s worth nothing that the word ‘simulator’ comes after ‘MMO’ in the title – this isn’t an MMO experience at all, but a simulation of one. It’s actually one of the most cleverly implemented ideas I’ve come across in a video game for a long time and actually fits in perfectly with the whole vibe of the Goat Simulator experience. You’re thrust into a medieval world that, like most MMOs, allows you to choose your class to being with. There’s the usual options – tank, magician, microwave… that’s right, you can play as a microwave with legs. Would you expect anything different though?
The game does a good job of disguising itself as a bona fide MMO – you’ll be questing, levelling up, fighting foes and watching a chat box fill up with guild and party requests as if you’re in the middle of a game of World Of Warcraft. Except none of it is actually real and you’re still playing a simulator. It’s brilliantly clever and I love the deception – for a brief moment when I started playing I actually though I was in an MMO.
These expansions bring with them whole new maps to explore and creative things to discover – I loved the Total Wipeout style obstacle course in GoatZ. Of the two expansions I had more fun with Goat MMO Simulator though. I found I got bored quickly playing through the survival aspects of GoatZ, whereas Goat MMO Simulator kept me hooked in for quite awhile. Either way, they’re both worthy editions to the Goat Simulator world.
Goat Simulator: The Bundle certainly isn’t for everyone. You need a specific sense of humour to enjoy the bizarre happenings and it’s certainly requires you to be ‘in on the joke’ if you’re going to look past all of its technical issues. If you can work with that then you’re going to have a great time with the game – especially since the bundle includes all of the additional expansion content for the game. There’s hours of chaotic, goat-blasting fun to be had and for some bizarre reason you won’t be able to stop coming back for more. I’m still sacrificing humans to the evil goat gods now…
On the flip side, if you don’t have a sense of humour and can’t look at Goat Simulator: The Bundle for what it is, then just stay away. You’re not going to have fun, you’re not going to laugh and you are going to moan about the bugs and glitches. Being a goat certainly isn’t for everyone, but at least for me it was a damn good time.
– You get to play as a goat.
– You get to blow up buildings as a goat.
– You get to sacrifice humans as a goat.
– You get to travel to space as a goat.
– You get to blast around on rocket skates as a goat.
– It’s not an accurate representation of the life of a goat.
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios (www.coffeestainstudios.com) Double Eleven Studios (www.double11.com)
Publisher: Koch Media (www.kochmedia.com)
Release Date: 04/03/2016 (retail), 20/11/2015 (digital) (Xbox One)
Format(s): Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android