In Norse mythology, the great god known as Thor had his chariot pulled by two goats. Each night, Thor would eat the goats, wrap up their bones, and in the morning his goats would be alive and ready to take him to his destination. Yet despite their history, these noble creatures have been ignored for years. Enter the heroes at Coffee Stain Studios, who have worked tirelessly for weeks to remind us just how majestic goats can be with Goat Simulator, a game where you are a goat.
The entire premise is, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. The developers even tell us that this is a completely pointless game riddled with bugs and glitches, but that’s okay. Goat Simulator is not a commentary on the videogame industry, nor is it a satire for poor game design. Goat Simulator is an entirely different animal altogether. This is a game which not only tells us that we should wait until it goes on sale, Coffee Stain Studios even admits that we would be better off buying a hula hoop. Many will argue that Goat Simulator is merely exploiting its absurdity and sense of self-deprecation as a selling point. Others might say that this is a chilling reflection on the game development cycle as a whole. The scholars will likely argue about the underlying messages of Goat Simulator for the next three years – all I know is that you are an indestructible goat on a jetpack.
There are no objectives in Goat Simulator. You simply move around in a poorly rendered suburbia and cause as much mayhem as possible. There are trampolines in swimming pools, giant slides, an indoor skate park, and a gas station which is just begging to be tampered with. Explosions and greatly exaggerated animations ensure that players are always one hoof away from complete and utter chaos. The small town is a sandbox in which players entertain themselves with whatever tools happen to be at their disposal. In one instance, I dragged an unsuspecting hillbilly to the top of a building and used my jetpack to throw him out of the map. Shortly after that, a gas station exploded and my goat was hit by a truck for no reason in particular.
The physics are a major part of the gameplay as well. With the press of a button, your goat can become a ragdoll, which only increases the sense of absurdity. For those who have played Saints Row, it is basically an even more nonsensical version of Insurance Fraud. For those who have not played Saints Row, think of it as a part of the game where gravity simply ceases to exist for the sake of fun. The more anarchy your four-legged beast can create, the more points you acquire. The points mean nothing of course, but it is nice to feel accomplished.
Unfortunately, the fun dies out fairly early. The first time you cause an explosion by throwing fruit at a car is great, but there really is not much else to laugh at after the initial gags. Absurdity for the sake of absurdity can only go so far before it becomes stale. The truth is that Goat Simulator is at its best when it is being showed to others. There is a certain joy in watching friends react to the notion that goats can ride jetpacks and headbutt gas pumps, yet like a skit on Saturday Night Live, the joke becomes really old in a short amount of time. Luckily, the Steam Workshop will allow for endless possibilities in the future, but as it stands the base game is very limited in a world that should have no limits.
This is a game that doesn’t just break the fourth wall – it completely destroys the whole house. Coffee Stain Studios is definitely going to create a cult following with any future projects. I would love to dive deeper into Goat Simulator, however there really isn’t much else to say. The game does not take itself seriously whatsoever, and the slapstick comedy is certainly welcome in an industry that is constantly out to prove that games can be art. Goat Simulator is entertaining, but the joke dies so quickly that you are better off taking the developer’s own advice and waiting for it to go on sale.
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