Do you remember the last time you took a decision and had no idea why you were doing it? Maybe you had a drink and then a few. Maybe, someone dared you to poke an angry man at a bar. Or perhaps, your intrusive thoughts took over, and you decided to make a game about a goat with superpowers.
With that last one, we’re not reconsidering a decision – we’re just confused. Confused BUT surprisingly impressed. We’re talking about Goat Simulator, a third-person ‘action’ game created and released by Coffee Stain Studios in April 2014.
There’s Goat Simulator, and – wait for it – there’s Goat Simulator 3. The second one probably left the building because it felt bizarrely weird to exist in the first (or second) place.
We know you’ve got questions; we’re in the same boat.
Are we being serious about goofiness?
Yes, for the most part.
You take on the role of Pilgor, an enthusiastic goat that wants to – okay, we genuinely don’t know the goat’s motive, but it’s safe to assume Pilgor wants to have fun.
The gameplay mechanics consist of four basic moves: headbutt, lick, hop, and ragdoll. This isn’t the fun part; this is the game getting a little comfortable with you. The real humor comes from combining these ‘movesets’ into tragically insane combos. In Goat Simulator, licking doesn’t work as in real life, because everything you lick sticks to your tongue and follows you everywhere you go.
According to the developers, they’ve felt a lot of big-budget games are very constrained. You wind yourself up by doing the same thing all the time, even in open-world games. Hence, there are no limits or requirements in Goat Simulator, so you may do whatever the hell you want. They believe that’s one of the game’s main draws, and many people value that.
This game’s setting makes things funnier by giving you situational prompts. There are houses, farms, a warehouse, a building site, and even the office of Coffee Stain Studios. You can engage in various activities or acquire various goods to outfit your goat in each of these areas. For instance, a place in-game lets you have a jetpack. You can fly around the map (if you manage to control it correctly) and instantly feel a change in how chaotic things can get. There’s even an instance wherein taking a seat on The Infernal Throne could make you the Queen of the Goats.
You can change the goat into an extraterrestrial, a robot, a giraffe, a whale, or the “Devil Goat” by dragging five people onto a pentagram in one corner of the globe. Goat Simulator is made all the more appealing because the controls are awkward and the physics are wild. Comparisons to score-attack games like the Tony Hawk’s series are absurd because this is a game where the screenshots outperform the gameplay.
The developer almost used ‘dummy pieces’ as NPCs that act as ragdoll experiments every time you stick out your tongue and have murderous thoughts. For example, there are houses where you can complete entire dinner plans by kicking off the table, licking away people, and bouncing around feeling proud of your choices. Small assets like fruits, furniture, and vehicles can be the consequence of your wrath – completely out of place and proportion.
Although the world can be messed around with, it is quite frustrating that large objects like buildings cannot be destroyed and that your activities do not impact certain scripted vehicles. Everything appears incredibly simple and undetailed as if the art was created for a whole different game (which is perfectly plausible), despite the unexpectedly good lighting and shadows. Because of this, the goat’s bizarre behavior seems even hilarious, as if he’s ruining someone else’s game.
A buggy mess we grew fond of
Goat Simulator is pure comedy. The developers even released it around April 1st, just for the gags of it. Its design is straightforward, small, unpolished, and buggy on purpose. It’s a good thing, then, that the joke is incredibly amusing, full of fantastic physics-powered slapstick humor and unexpected surprises throughout the ostensibly tranquil small-town setting.
Goat Simulator asks you to break stuff to earn points and sometimes even awards you with the Michael Bay achievement – although it is perhaps one of the lesser enjoyable aspects of the game. The main focus is on going at your own pace while exploring the fun playground and finding delightful surprises.
Much like hilariously self-aware titles (looking at you, Saints Row), Goat Simulator was a playable joke that people loved. However, that is never a justifiable excuse for games with endless glitches and bugs. To be the devil goat’s advocate, Goat Simulator finds its spot in-between. It used its messy gameplay to an advantage, creating an experience that people will remember for a while.
“I love this game, it’s my dumbest idea, but also, by far, it’s my most fun idea.” – Armin Ibrisagic (Goat Simulator’s game designer and PR manager)