Goat Simulator – fun without substance

I don’t even know where to start with this game. While playing Octodad I though that performing normal tasks as an Octopus, pretending to be a human, was crazy enough. But then this comes along. To put it simply, this is a game that sees you running about a small village as a homicidal goat. At least a goat is supposed to be on dry land, I guess. 

There is a lot to be said about this game, to start with, this game wasn’t even supposed to be released. What started as a joke on the internet, with some witty developers adding a goat to look around a new engine, quickly became the speciticle of admiration and want. Only the internet would see a video of a goat being chucked through the air in a ridiculously buggy game and demand that that game be brought out. In a world seemingly obsessed with the highest possible quality and the best next-gen graphics and performance, it is refreshing to see that all people really want is a goat and a small world in which to cause havoc. That said, this games does really feel like just that, there is no meat to the play or even really that much that kept me entertained for a long period of time. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but for a game that costs £7.99, I expect a little bit of substance.

That is not to say that this games isn’t fun. Your aim is to wreak havoc amongst a seemingly peaceful and unsuspecting town. I like to think that they’re a town of evil doers, worshipping the anti-goat, making your quest to rid the town of evil by rag-dolling all over the whole place. Whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter, but you are given a limited set of tools to go about your holy business. You have the basics, such as run and jump, but you can also press a button to rag-doll at any time and I think that may tell you a bit about the game already. You can also ram and twist in the air, making goat acrobatics possible … which in itself is worth note. You can also lick objects, enabling the goat’s tongue to act as a rope, attaching yourself to things that you can drag around all about the place. And don’t think this applies to just bins or cones, you can drag people, cars, signs, boulders, tables, chairs and pretty much anything you can get your hands / tongue on. Let me tell you that dragging a protester half-way across the map and ramming them off a cliff is very satisfying.

By far the best part about this game is the town itself. It’s so full of goodies and treats that the reason you will want to drive back into this game is just to explore. The town itself isn’t very big, but that just means the treats are packed in tighter. On the surface, it looks relatively normal, but walk over the hill, there is a goat fighting area, walk into a building, there is an anti-gravity field. But it’s not just the weird and whacky that will keep you playing, simple things such as trampolines will sap up a lot of your game time. While playing with the team the other day, we must have spent a good 30 minutes just trying to get as high as we can, bouncing around and we were having a blast the whole time. You can never die, so there is no fear of not doing anything making the exploration that much more interesting, and even through death may not be a deterrent, working you way all the way up to a narrow ledge still provides a sense of accomplishment when you jump off onto a mattress that sends you flighting into a container with a robot dancing inside … yeah.

In an effort to add a purpose to the madness, there are missions that will update as you complete them. These won’t be the usual ‘Kill 200 goblins’ etc, but seem more simple, ‘deal 200 points of damage’ or ‘do a front flip’. While these seem more menial, they are considerably more tricky when you are controlling a buggy goat and can require a lot of thought and planning to accomplish. You are equally rewarded for exploration, beyond the fact that you found something, with actual in game accolades for finding secrets. I won’t give any of them away , as finding them is basically the whole fun of the game, but they will most likely put a smile on your face once discovered.

Overall, I’m having fun with Goat Simulator, I said at the beginning that I was not too happy about the price and I stand by that. There is a lot on this game to entertain and amuse, but beyond that it feels empty. I gave it a really good go and had a fun few hours and then picked it back up when I had friends over, and again we had a great time. But I feel that right now this is what it will stay like. Goat Simulator is definitely the sort of game you would pull out when you have people over, just to show them how silly it is, and because of that I would want it for a cheaper price, especially as they rushed it out for the fans.