by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
Just an average JonaGoat
JonaGoat was not a special goat. He was not the most attractive goat, nor was he the ugliest. He had no special talents and mostly stood by himself in the corner, wishing that he could join the other goats in play. JonaGoat’s life looked perfectly normal and he thought it would always remain so.
Until one very special day. On this particular day, JonaGoat discovered that he could do things that the other goats could not. He could move in four different directions and turn his body around. He could jump over the objects that were in his yard. He could headbutt and kick these objects too, propelling them great distances. But most importantly, JonaGoat could lick things and make them stick to him. Within half an hour of these discoveries, JonaGoat had accomplished, in no particular order, the following: blew up a gas station, disrupted a protest, completely trashed a development studio, learned how to fly a jetpack, became king of all goats, sacrificed humans to the devil himself and journeyed to outer space.
If the above does not make sense to you, fear not. It makes even less sense in context.
Bugs with a purpose
Goat Simulator is a game wherein you play as a goat and simulate its day to day life. O.K., not really, but it's the best possible summary that can be given. Goat Simulator is a parody/joke game, developed over the span of a few short weeks. From a design standpoint, it’s an absolute mess. The sheer amount of bugs and glitches that are present in the game would normally be a major turnoff in a normal game. But in Goat Simulator, the bugs are proudly listed as a major feature by the developers.
Truth be told, this game would be a lot worse if the bugs weren’t part of the package. This game is so broken, so horribly designed (yet functional enough that it doesn’t crash) that it becomes one of the most hilarious games in recent memory. Watching your goat's neck stretch out five feet because it was caught in a window is just an assumed part of the experience. The laws of physics routinely change, allowing for people to be launched hundreds of feet through the air with a simple kick. And when you discover the jetpack, well, it's incredibly fun to try to use it properly.
Extended joke that wears thin
As your goat kicks and licks its way through the world, there are two primary methods for measuring your progress. The first is via points that are gained for pulling stunts, hitting objects, and finding secrets. They serve no purpose and are included in the game for no discernible reason. The second method is through challenges, which are objectives that you can try and accomplish as you traverse the world. The objectives start out with simple actions, such as jumping over an obstacle, before progressing into challenges such as trying to become the king of the goats. They offer no reward for completion, however, and the only notable thing about them is that the challenges are sometimes cleverly named (like the Michael Bay challenge).
So what is there to do in the game beyond wandering around and breaking stuff? Beyond some hidden challenges and collectibles (which also do nothing), it quickly becomes apparent that Goat Simulator doesn’t really have much else to offer. While the base game by itself can provide two hours of enjoyment at most, it becomes really difficult to find something worth replaying within the first hour. Essentially, Goat Simulator is one extended joke that eventually wears out its welcome.
Not that being an extended joke is a bad thing in and of itself. Goat Simulator is extremely entertaining and funny because it consists of one long gag. The map which you roam around on is actually pretty small, however, taking only a minute to cross when sprinting. There’s just not enough content to fully support one joke. While the developers have included Steam Workshop support, the current status of the game fails to live up to the potential of its premise.
Wait for a sale
There are some minor changes that can add some spice to the experience. At the main menu, one can select a few options that change your goat's special abilities and appearance. One trait allows your goat to eat objects and poop them out as watermelon bombs, while another allows your goat to utilize a spin attack. My personal favourite turns your goat into a giraffe, which provided a few more smiles during my playtime. Like the other content in the game, however, once you’ve seen it the first time there isn’t really a need to go back to it.
As a joke, Goat Simulator excels in every single way. As a game, it lacks the content that would have turned it into something more. The games own developers even encourage players to wait for the game to go on sale and trust me, that is a recommendation that I wholeheartedly agree with.
Extremely funny at first, Hilariously broken, fun secrets.
Jokes get old quick, not a lot of content.