Last year we saw the release of Goat Simulator for Steam and iOS as part of the simulator craze. Coffee Stain Studios managed to capture a simulator that appeals to everyone, and last week they brought Goat Simulator to Xbox One and to Xbox 360. In Goat Simulator you get to do all of the things that goats normally do such as walk around, lick things and even bounce on trampolines or sacrifice humans to your satanic goat deity.
In Goat Simulator for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, you get to explore GoatVille and Goat City Bay with objectives to pursue, or just roam around for fun. Each map has a set of challenges, collectible golden goat statues and plenty of fun, strange Easter eggs for you to enjoy. The challenges range from being able to find the button to press that will have your goat bleat, or that you have to wall run for up to 10 seconds. Usually the challenges are tiered so if you have to manual for 1000 points for the easy challenge you'll have to get double or triple that to get the next two levels.
Each area has 30 of the collectible goat statues, some you can find as you bounce around the streets – but some you need to scale buildings or leap into dangerous obstacles in order to collect them. The more that you are able to collect and achieve in Goat Simulator means that you're able to unlock mutators that can change the way that your goat acts when you use its special ability, or even change what species of goat you are. These can be small changes, such as being able to double jump, to something a bit more crazy like being a satanic penguin.
The controls of the game are simple and tight so that anyone can pick up and play this game and still manage to get some pretty interesting and fantastic responses. A forced rag doll feature is a good mechanic, as is the slow motion function that gives you more time to react to a fall, or just watch your goat flop gracefully through the air.
This game looks nice. It's built on the Unreal Engine 3 that uses the nVidia PhysX and Apex Physics engines to give the game it's main appeal. There is a lot to be said about all of the different graphical glitches that occur in the game due to the physics engine, and they can be small like the strange limp motion of the goats head as you climb up a ladder, or warping when the goat begins to rotate too fast. While in another game this would be seen as extremely negative, in Goat Simulator all of the bugs and glitches are a part of the sales model, with Coffee Stain Studios explicitly saying "MILLIONS OF BUGS! We're only eliminating the crash-bugs, everything else is hilarious and we're keeping it".
The different effects used in the game are concise and on point, but some of the sound bites of humans reacting to the goat do get repetitive. The one that I noticed most was a clip of "I was once sacrificed by a goat". The soundtrack itself is also repetitive, but is also quiet enough that you begin not to really notice it the longer that you play the game for.
Unlike its initial launch on the PC, Goat Simulator for Xbox One and Xbox 360 launches with local multiplayer of up to 4 players. It is the exact same game to the single player, and all of the goats actively move towards the same objectives, collection totals. The only difference is that each player's points levels are unique to their own goat. This can mean that if you want to clear through all of the different features, you can team up with some friends and do just that. Some events, such as bicycle races and challenges, can be played competitively with friends to see who racks up the most points.
All in all, Goat Simulator is a game that has a lot of fun elements, but the biggest problem with it is how quickly the experience is over. It's a game that you want to keep going with good pacing of mutators and interesting challenges, but when you've finished all you can do within 6 hours, then that will ultimately leave you wanting more due to the price of the game. Also disappointing is the lack of a free PC addon called the "Goat MMO Simulator" for the Xbox versions of the game.
Goat Simulator was obtained from Coffee Stain Studios and reviewed on the Xbox One.
Goat Simulator is a fun game to pick up and play with plenty of laughs to be had alone or with friends but doesn't take too long to complete or have much replay value.