Review: Goat Simulator is a delightful mess


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You are a goat. A somewhat normal, nearly indestructible goat. 

To an outside observer, Goat Simulator is something a little too out of the ordinary. The game seems as random as Octodad, another independent game born of goofiness that not all audiences would appreciate. 

Goat Simulator could be seen as an in-joke only gamers would understand. The physics programmed into the game, the intentional glitches, the rampant bugs, and even the title of the game all combine to poke fun at gaming itself. 

The “Simulator” part of the title is a real thing that is used for realistic simulation games such as Train Simulator and Boat Simulator. These are targeted at a niche crowd, even by PC gaming standards. 

The “Goat” part is rather self-explanatory. I don’t have anything against playing as goats in a video game, since Tokyo Jungle gave me ample experience doing it. 

As with Tokyo Jungle, the idea of playing as a goat should not be misunderstood here. The player is not roaming through the mountains, butting heads with other goats, nor bleating at the stingy humans taking up valuable space in the petting zoo.

The game is an open world that awards the player points for causing chaos with this one goat. 

The scale can be as small as ramming into a human’s rear end or destroying an entire birthday party, to tearing through the city tied to a jetpack. Most obstacles fall apart in the goat’s wake, and this includes cars. Many things will explode in the goat’s face, ending the limp body flying across the city and into the neighboring wilderness.

On PC and Mac, the game has been messed around with via modifications. This might be the first game in history where said modifications, no matter how unexpected or crazy, still fit the aesthetics of the game. The Elder Scrolls V: kyrim can have its tone broken by replacing all the dragons with “Macho Man” Randy Savage but adding Shrek, Jake the Dog, or even Slender Man to Goat Simulator feels appropriate in the game’s insane world. 

The game itself already allows the goat to transform into a beached sperm whale that can move and live (somewhat uncomfortably) without water. Nothing is a stretch here. The game remains a beautiful, unmitigated mess regardless.

Now with a console release on Xbox One and 360 imminent, it is time for a larger market to see this monstrosity for themselves. Not everyone will get what the game is supposed to be, and many will continue to be turned off by its style. I would still encourage anyone to try it, though.

Goat Simulator is available now for PC and Mac via Steam. Xbox One and Xbox 360 releases are tentatively slated for April 17 (via Gameinformer).

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