Goat Simulator Review
Developer/Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios
Introduction: To describe Goat Simulator as a game would be a bit of a stretch of most accepted definitions of the word game. Goat Simulator can be best described as a ‘Comedic Physics Sandbox’, in which players take the role of a goat in the middle of a town. As the goat, players can walk and run around, rag doll, jump, flip, headbutt and kick things, baa, slow motion, and lick things. Licking things is essentially Goat Simulator’s version of picking things up, as the goat’s tongue sticks to objects when you lick them. In addition, throughout the sandbox, there are various secrets that can modify the goat to allow for other various interactions with the world, ranging from pitching a ball, to having a jet-pack and flying around the level. There are a list of goals to complete, as well as a series of collectibles and achievements, but there are no linear goal or guidelines to playing, which is the primary reason Goat Simulator is less of a game and more of a sandbox.
Gameplay: While Goat Simulator is fun for a brief time, and will likely provide a decent number of laughs during that time, it quickly grows boring due to the lack of varying content. The one map currently in the game is not very large, and unfortunately, there’s only that one map, though that might change in the future. Personally, it only took about 3 hours to unlock everything and get all the achievements in the game. Goat Simulator does redeem itself a little in this category by including steam workshop capabilities, so it’s entirely possible that, if the game picks up a cult following, there will be a lot of user generated content, but unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that there’s so little official content for a game priced at 10 dollars.
A large amount of the relatively small amount of content is in trying for secrets and hidden items. There are actually a decent amount of each of these, and the secrets in particular can be quite fun to mess around with. Some of these secrets change the goat in some manner, either by changing the stats of the goat or by providing the goat with special abilities. Unfortunately, if the player unlocks multiple secrets that provide their goat with multiple special abilities, all the abilities are bound to the same key, causing a single key press to activate multiple abilities. It would be nice if there was a way to either bind them to different keys, so the players could enable specific powers, or if there was a sub-menu the player could enter to enable and disable certain powers while in the middle of the game, instead of having to create a new, custom game and do so.
Being a physics sandbox, one of the most important mechanics of Goat Simulator is how well the physics are handled. While the physics of Goat Simulator are not by any definition ‘realistic’, considering it’s designed to be comedic, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the unrealistic physics actually provide a lot of the humor of Goat Simulator, and are definitely fitting for that reason. There are a few times that the physics of different things interact in unexpected and incorrect ways that are less funny and more annoying than anything, particularly with the demon powers that can be unlocked, but overall, the physics are rather amusing. The ability to lick objects and drag them around is a fairly important and well implemented mechanic as well, as it allows setting up hilarious object interactions and scenarios.
Graphics: The graphics of Goat Simulator are simply okay. They’re not amazing for the most part, but they’re not bad either. For the most part, they’re fine for the purpose of a physics sandbox. However, the place where Goat Simulator dramatically falls through in optimization. Even with all of the graphical settings turned to their lowest settings, I still had to lower the resolution to 1280 x 768 in order to run the game at a decent framerate. Keep in mind, this is a computer that can run League of Legends, Hearthstone, and lately, Titanfall perfectly fine. Even at these settings in Goat Simulator, there were times that the framerate would slow to about 15 fps. There is even a specific location that, at these same settings, my framerate dropped to 1-2 fps, which is utterly ridiculous for any game, especially a ten dollar comedic physics sandbox. In this same location, I set all settings, including resolution, to the lowest possible option, and it still consistently ran at 1-2 fps. Luckily, this location is only a minor section of the game.
Audio: The audio of Goat Simulator is actually really well done, with the sound effects sounding either hilarious or realistic. One of the funnier things Goat Simulator has to offer is when a lot of things are happening at once, and these sound effects blend together into one unexpected conglomerate. The music is even unexpectedly good. In addition, the music isn’t repetitive at all, which is often an issue sandbox games like this will have.
Verdict: While many people didn’t expect much out of Goat Simulator, considering how ridiculous even the title sounds, it’s still a bit disappointing what the result was, especially considering from it came from a published game studio. It is definitely better than a lot of ‘Simulator’ games, but for being a pay to play game, it doesn’t have near enough content to justify the price. I would recommend to wait until Goat Simulator goes on sale to buy it, as it’s the kind of game that will likely go sale pretty quickly. It is definitely fun for the short amount of time played, so at a lower price, it’s not a bad choice to buy. Goat Simulator deserves a 3/6, primarily due to it’s lack of content and poor optimization.