Have you ever wanted to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and just be a goat? No? Oh, dang it. Because the developers in this latest addition to the Simulator titles are no doubt hoping you answered yes to the question. As ridiculous as it sounds, Coffee Stain Studios are attempting to bring the bleating heart of a goat into PC, and iPhone game form. Do they succeed?
The name alone may be a deterrent, perhaps rightfully so. It sounds like the most ridiculous gimmick in the history of ever, and to an extent, that assumption is correct. However, Coffee Stain embraces the crazy concept without shame, and manages to make a silly sandbox game that while not epic in scope, is memorable.
The simulator thrusts you into direct control of a nameless goat inhabiting the small town of (where else?) Goatville. You spend your time trying to manipulate the Unreal physics engine in a goat’s skin. You’ll head-butt your way through town, use your sticky goat tongue to attach, Spider-man-like, to various object, and be sent sailing into the sky on more than one occasion. Highly reminiscent of Turbo Dismount, this app embraces crazy chaos.
Goat Simulator is both simple and difficult to describe to others. “You’re a goat.” Would be the short summary of the game, and an accurate one at that. However, a slightly deeper explanation is needed. It’s a single-player game, designed to be a multi-player experience; shared with a group of friends who perhaps are a bit too sleep-deprived. Absorbing all of the silliness by yourself is a shame. Taking suggestions from friends as to what to make the goat do next seems like the correct way to get the most fun out of the game.
The very nature of the beast means it is a gimmick at best. Thus, the gimmick quickly wears out its welcome; that’s to be expected. The “open world” of Goatville is small, with very few activities to do apart from ramming the animal headfirst into pedestrians. The stream of over-the-top carton violence the app provides will only placate even the most involved gamer for a short while at best. The collectibles (golden goat trophies, of course) provide little incentive to prolong your stay within the app’s invisible-walled town, and once you get your chuckles, you’ll be clicking out of the app and back to your home screen.
Goat Simulator wins points for originality. In today’s gaming world packed with FPSs, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a game come out of left field like this (though in this case, that breath would probably consist of laughing gas). Designed to provide a few minutes of slapstick, silly fun, it achieves that goal with aplomb. Playing a game called Goat Simulator and looking for anything deeper than that is the player’s mistake; not the game’s.