Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, XBox 360, XBox One
In a market where even the most eagerly anticipated games fail spectacularly, Goat Simulator is a mind-blowing story of success where success should not have been possible. I mean, the game was released on April Fool’s Day, and the Steam page carries the following information:
I’ll admit, every time I see this game on sale, I’m curious. But I’m certainly not $10 curious. However, with the current free weekend happening on Steam, I had to try it. Now that I’ve had a chance to play around with this toy – and let’s be honest, it’s a toy, not a game – I kind of get it.
The controls are simple enough. Move, jump, headbutt, flip, and bleat. However, in Goat Simulator, things don’t ever behave the way you expect them to. If a goat, even a very large goat, came barrelling at a car and ran into it headfirst, what you’d have is a goat with a headache. Here, you have an explosion, a dramatic flight through the air, and a flurry of points added to your score.
As far as I can figure, the entire point of the game is to be a force of discord and destruction. Break things, climb things, knock things over. As you wander about, you’ll find mini-games. I came upon a race (which I decided not to do since I had a pesky ragdoll human on my back I couldn’t figure out how to offload), and a headbutt arena game.
But the thing that really made me consider hitting the buy button is that Goat Simulator has collectibles. For most people, it’s a fun exploring bonus. For someone like me, it’s a reason in and of itself to play the game. I really had to restrain myself from stopping all the mayhem and just hunting little golden goat statues. I’ve spent a hell of a lot more than the current discounted price of $2.50 for game play that was less satisfying that exploring for trinkets.
Goat Simulator prides itself on leaving in the “fun” bugs, so you’re likely to see a lot of things like in the screenshot above, where the graphics go all wonky. For me, that adds nothing to the game, but with so little game, it’s not like it detracts from the serious business of it all either. There are only a handful of maps in the base game, but there is also the Goat MMO Simulator (which I didn’t check out) included, as well as 3 different DLCs and over 100 maps on the Steam Workshop. If being a psychotic goat is your thing, there’s no shortage of ways to do it.
I’m fairly certain that Goat Simulator’s success (and make no mistake, this is a game that’s sold a LOT of copies over the past two years) is due mostly to the cross-section of gamers who enjoy silliness, and the completionists among us. I went in, fairly sure I was going to hate it, and now I want to find the collectibles, try to get all the achievements, and keep pushing higher and higher scores. I kind of get it. Despite its rock bottom aspirations, it’s still a better game than a lot of those early access survival simulations that Steam seems to be littered with nowadays.