Every gaming generation has a few great titles that define the systems du jour, a few choice selections of software so grounded in the time they were created, and the system they were created for, that they become synonymous with the hardware. For Genesis it was Sonic the Hedgehog. For NES it was Super Mario Bros. For Xbox it was Halo. And for Steam, is it Goat Simulator? That’s a hard, hard no. But Swedish independent developer Coffee Stain Studios wasn’t looking to make a great game, or even a good game, so long as it was fun. So is this deliberately “small, buggy and stupid” sandbox simulator of a goat who hates, like seriously hates family cookouts, fun? That’s the question posed to TVGB’s Cody Shults, Andrew Burrage and Noe Ponce in this Team Review of Goat Simulator.
Cody Shults: What is there to say about Goat Simulator? This is everything I would have dreamed a goat simulator game would offer me. Feel like headbutting a human off a construction crane to his death? I can do it. Hurl an axe at a crowd of people simply by using my tongue? Awesome. Invoke the spirit of Michael Bay by blowing up a gas station with a well placed hind leg kick? HELL YES! I can do all of those things, and more, even in slow motion if I prefer. I love Goat Simulator like I love, well, simulating the life of a goat in a made up world where everyone accepts that they might be next in the sacrifice to the unholy goat god. In all seriousness, this game is extremely fun, and I cannot wait to see what people cook up with mods and Steam Workshop items. My only gripe is that I saw a town/city nearby, but was unable to sabotage it. Let’s get to work modders and open up the world to the glorious simulation of goat! [9.0]
Andrew Burrage: Have you ever wanted to be a goat and do goaty things? Well Goat Simulator is the game for you! Jump over a fence? Check. Eat grass? Check. Sacrifice people to the goat god and gain demonic psychic powers? Check. Goat Simulator is a goofy, buggy mess of a game, and that’s what makes it fun. I can go from climbing a crane and catching a ride on a hang-glider to playing “flappy goat” on a tv. The achievements give the game some challenge, but mostly I just like walking around and finding new things to kick, lick, or baa at. My biggest complaint mirrors Cody’s – the explorable world is pretty small. However, the game does cater to the modding community; we’ve already seen some mods that augment your goat-bilities, and some other levels are available, so maybe eventually our goat’s universe can be expanded. All in all, If you’re looking for a deep, engaging storyline to play, then this game probably isn’t for you. If you’re looking to kill some time and want to control a goat, then Goat Simulator will be the best $10 you’ll ever spend. The devs have no illusions that their game is the next Mass Effect, but they also know that sometimes it’s ok to be a goat. [8.5]
Noe Ponce: I was really excited when I first heard about Goat Simulator, a quirky, open world where I can control a goat and earn points for going on rampages and completing ridiculous stunts. However, upon getting my hands on it, I felt the game was a bit over-hyped. I know Goat Simulator was not intended to be a serious, hardcore game, but I still felt a little let down. I was not able to control the goat the way I wanted or expected to. The “lick” ability was especially sketchy. I could lick-up some things that did not expect to be able to, but other things that seemed obviously lick-able, I could not lick. Despite these inconsistencies, the game did have its high points. The graphics in Goat Simulator are gorgeous. The world is vibrant, bright and highly detailed. The physics system is also very respectable. Using Unreal Engine 3, rag dolls physics have never looked better when you blow yourself up to kingdom come. [6.5]
When you think about it, Goat Simulator doesn’t quite deliver on its title in that it’s a rather poor simulation of a goat – we’re no animal husbandry experts, but we’re still pretty sure that aside from the demonic sideways-eyes, there’s nothing realistic about an indestructible billy goat who can climb ladders, wield an axe with his sticky prehensile tongue and secure a jetpack harness without the aid of opposable thumbs. And let’s not forget the way he phases through walls, falls through floors and other spooky stuff we totally should have expected from The Church of Satan’s official mascot. But Goat Simulator is charming because of the bugs, not in spite of them. That’s why Coffee Stain Studios left them in; they thought they were funny, and they were right. What the game lacks in depth and design it makes up for in laughs as you engage the rag doll physics, activate the slow motion, and watch your hateful four-legged avatar spin, flail and flop a swath of destruction through this otherwise peaceful community. Yes, it has been over-hyped, but not by the developer who are the first to admit that your money might be better spent on a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe a real-life goat. But if you go into it realizing it’s not going to be “GTA with goats,” you’ll be surprised by the amount of detail they packed into a game created in just one week. Though the single small-town map is, well, small, it’s packed with secrets to discover, experience and possibly headbutt repeatedly until they explode. In other words, exactly what the internet asked for.