The thing about games these days is that there are way less limits to imagination, so there have been more titles with novel concepts. There are some that play more like interactive fiction, while others dig into the players’ tendencies like in Antichamber. There are some games though that are made to be open-ended, wherein almost anything is possible and players can create their own stories and scenarios. Goat Simulator was made to be that from the ground up.
Goat Simulator is an open world game developed by Coffee Stain Studios, makers of the Sanctum series, with the Unreal Engine 3 which parodies simulation games by having you play as a goat that can run around and headbutt things. Take not that it’s not Goat Petting Simulator; that’s a different game altogether. This is a game that features ragdoll physics at their most ridiculous in an open world where you can just fool around and do what you can to break the game and have some fun.
It was made to be a parody of simulator games, and it’s a lot like Garry’s Mod in being an open-ended gameplay experience. This game has gotten quite a bit of popularity through social media before its release, and lots of gaming websites and blogs have made features on it. When it was finally released, its humor and novelty gave it viral success. There’s another game that features a goat, which is the puzzle platfomer Escape Goat. The difference between this game and Escape Goat though is that the latter is much more of a game than this one, which is a bit of a joke that snowballed into an actual game.
Basically, your goat can run around and hits stuff, and it can also jump and launch into ragdoll mode at any time, which make for some amusing results. It plays a lot like the Insurance Fraud mini-game in Saints Row IV, wherein you can have yourself fly high up in the sky and bounce off the ground as many times as you can. A scoring system that’s reminiscent of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series the comes up to show how impressive your screw-ups are. You can also find all the secrets and easter eggs to unlock abilities and achievements as well.
The problem with games like this is that when the novelty wears off, it gets old very quickly. There is no real objective other than accumulating points and unlocking achievements, and there is no way to lose at all. This thing is also full of bugs, and the developers are proud of that. They are trying to keep as many of the bugs as possible as they believe that they’re what make this game enjoyable. Perhaps it’s funny for a while to see the goat’s head smash against various surfaces and everything else get messed up due to faulty collision detection, but it will wear thin on anyone who plays this game.
Even though it may not really be a game for the ages, its novelty is what gives it such popularity and pulling power, so much that even the more cynical folks out there may even get this for the 10 whole dollars that it supposedly costs, and it’s going to be a must-buy in sales, that’s for sure. However, unless the additional content coming for this title will add lots more content, this game doesn’t realistically cost $10 on its own. At best, it’s a good thing to know that buying this game helps support Coffee Stain and perhaps they can make a great Sanctum 3 with that money.
At the very least, it’s pure and honest in its intentions and ingenuity. It’s a game that players will either love or hate, but there’s no denying the fact that it’s not to be taken too seriously.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 5/10