Tom Hooper aka Atomp
Goat Simulator, what more can be said. This whole thing started during an in-house Coffee Stain Studios (Sanctum, Sanctum 2, Super Sanctum TD) game jam intended to familiarise new staff with the Unreal Engine. One of the competitors in this game jam; Armin Ibrisagic created a weird and wacky take on the 90s skateboarding games with a goat substituted for the skateboarder and destruction rather than tricks. Coffee Stain Studios released a video of this broken, glitchy yet unbelievably fun looking prototype onto Youtube and the Internet lost its head. The video went viral and there was widespread agreement across the Internet and gaming press that this ridiculous thing had to be and so was born this as a thing. The game that was promised was broken, glitchy and ridiculous and people would love it for it. To give Coffee Stain Studios some significant credit, they took a broken prototype and added significant amounts of secrets, challenges and scoring that actually extended the toy into a proper game. The base experience isn’t nearly as short lived as you’d think and there was the ultimate value creator; easy modding and Steam Workshop support. There is even an E3 Game Launch map creation contest which is bound to produce some really fun levels.
The gameplay in Goat Simulator is massively physics driven, the player controls a goat from a third person perspective with the ability to run, sprint, jump, headbut, lick, ragdoll, slowmo and special. Running, sprinting and jumping are fairly self explanatory however the rest are not: Headbutting is your standard attack and will impart some significant force upon things in front of you. Combine this with some momentum, a light object or some explosives and this becomes your first taste of the ridiculous physics. Second we come onto the lick, this sticks your infinitely strong and stretchy tongue to an object allowing you to drag it or be dragged by it, think chasing people with an axe attached to a stretchy tongue and you get an idea. The ragdoll does as it says on the tin, ragdolls your goat allowing it to be thrown around like, well, a ragdoll and the slowmo enables real time slowmo. Finally there is the special which is enabled by a variety of unlocks and can produce some brilliant additional effects that I won’t ruin. Combine all of these with the medium sized level packed with environments, explosives, trampolines and many many more fun things and there is the recipe for some significant fun.
The scoring is based on building score whilst also maintaining a combo which can lead to some significant destruction as you tear through a house or development studio or pile of crates or garden party… The sky really is the limit, that is until you glitch too high and break the game landing outside the map only to physics glitch back into the map at some significant speed. The key to this game is that whilst the developers have worked on ironing out crash-bugs, they left the rest in, resulting in a brutally honest glitchy fun experience as you work to glitch your way into completing challenges in ways unintended or just seeing if you can crash the game by overloading the physics engine. To be fair to Coffee Stain Studios it’s actually fairly difficult to overload the game to a point of absolute crashing, in spite of its glitchy and broken nature this is actually a damn stable glitchy and broken game. I can safely say that the first time I launched the game I didn’t stop playing for 5 hours, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did the typical running around trashing stuff and then moved onto completing the challenges and eventually to finding collectibles. Since then I have added around 5 more hours to that play time and I’m still not done with it, beyond the 5 to 10 hours of default play is the potential for playing with the modded “mutators” (UT style). The game has some of these built in but with Steam Workshop support even today only a couple of days after release there are already some really fun things to play with; like for example a mod that adds an “Australian Goat” with appropriately reversed controls or the teleporter mod or the exploding goat mod… there is no limit to the potential when combined with the option for custom maps too.
The aesthetic is actually rather impressive for what it is and the development time, being an Unreal Engine game much of the required lighting and graphical effects are already built into the engine but combined with the good but not astonishing models and textures it actually looks rather good. On top of the graphical engine more fidelity is afforded by the physics engine which does an astonishing job of keeping track of what must be thousands of independent physics objects and tens of ragdolls. This means that running into a house full of objects and going nuts will result in a screen full of flying debris and one very very happy goat. Sound is also done well, the music is light and silly matching the game perfectly and the goat and human sounds are brilliantly done and very entertaining.
In short then Goat Simulator is everything everyone expected and wanted it to be, there’s no coincidence that the Steam tags for the game currently read as; “Beautiful, Art, Simulation, Funny, Physics” and a negative review is difficult to find. Don’t go into Goat Simulator expecting a massive game with polished systems, a huge world or a detailed story and lore instead go into it with an open mind and have some seriously silly fun by ragdolling a goat off a crane and onto a trampoline. It’s just so much fun. Currently the game is available for Windows (although Linux and Mac ports are confirmed as being in the works) and the minimum spec is reasonable. The current price from the game website (through the Humble widget) is £6.01 (approx $9.99) and through Steam directly the game costs £6.99 (approx $11.63). If this doesn’t convince you then I’d recommend checking some Youtube videos, there’s quite a few as this game was pretty much made for Youtube (literally).
Game Website (with Humble widget):
Goat Simulator on Steam:
Goat Simulator Sub-Reddit:
Goat Simulator Wiki: