Also On: Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Double Eleven
Developer: Double Eleven/Coffee Stain Studios
I’m really not sure how to review Goat Simulator. It’s basically a joke game, born — if Wikipedia is to be believed — out of one man’s desire to teach his colleagues how to use Unreal Engine, and turned into a full-on game because of love for a funny fake trailer. Judging it by the same standards you’d apply to most other games seems like an exercise in missing the point. And yet, here the game is on Xbox, after having been to a huge hit on PC, which means that it’s not unfair to ask the question of whether there’s any reason to spend real, actual money on something that looks like it never should’ve gone beyond the “Heh, that’s funny” stage.
Actually, the question is, “Is Goat Simulator any good?” And the answer is…it’s far better than it has any right to be.
I mean, it’s not the kind of game you could sit down and just play for hours. No matter how much the developers tried to gamify being a goat — with things like trophies and minigames scattered around the world, and objectives for each level — the reality is you’re just running around as an indestructible goat in a world full of very breakable and explosive objects.
That said, if you’re like me, the latter half of that last sentence might be more than enough to pique and sustain your interest. My favourite things in gaming include a healthy sense of absurdity and the ability to cause massive explosions, and those are the two areas in which Goat Simulator excels. In terms of the latter, all you need to do to make a car explode is brush against it, and the resulting blast will be enough to launch you across the city. On a related note, the ragdoll animations here are fantastic, with every person you come into contact with prone to flopping over or flying away with only the slightest contact, regardless of whether it’s caused by a headbutt or a bit of wayward debris.
As you probably expect, Goat Simulator’s sense of humor is equally over the top. This is a game where one of the power-ups is becoming Goat Satan, which you obtain by accessing a barely-hidden portal to Hell and which allows you to summon dead goats on command. No less absurd are the “mutations” that give you accessories like a wearable pitching machine, a jetpack, and, uh, Deadmau5’s head, the last of which allows you to instantly start a dance party wherever you go.
In other words, it’s all incredibly silly. It’s also not particularly deep — so again, if you’re looking for something you can play for hours and hours, this probably isn’t it. I mean, everything about the game appeals to me, and I could only take it in half-hour increments, so I can’t imagine how it would be for someone who isn’t in love with the concept. Goat Simulator isn’t exactly the kind of game that’s going to win over people who are already suspicious that it’s just one big joke.
But that’s because it is a joke. A big, dumb, gloriously fun joke, and one that’s worth checking out when you’re just in the mood to see stuff get blown up by one insane goat.