Monday, February 4

Review: Goat Simulator - The GOATY [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Among the many weirdo physics games I’ve played there’s never been anything quite like Goat Simulator. At a highly counter-intuitive level it somehow manages to be goofy, charming, and fun. That is, if you can accept that the entire plan behind it is to make a game using what look to be a ton of generic assets thrown together, blended into an unusual soup, and then served to you “as is”.


Part of what I think makes the game work so well is that, at its core, it’s a pretty open-ended sandbox experience. Put into a space you typically have very little direction, usually only some quest objectives that are trying to get you to try something specific (but can be completely ignored), and then you just go and do your “goat thing”. Whether that’s trying to headbutt everything you see into submission, seeing what happens when you lick different objects (fireworks are fun), experimenting with driving a vehicle, or any number of other daft things it’s a game about the overall experience, not really the underlying mechanics.


While the original game that I’d played on mobile is here I was also floored by the amount of DLC in this title that has come out over time. Whether taking you out into space, trying to start up your own zombie apocalypse, trying out a sort of weird take on an “MMO”, or even playing a very bizarre loose version of Payday you just have no idea what to expect. Each of them is ultimately just an excuse to put you in a new environment full of weird things you can do with some slightly different capabilities and objectives… but they’re all just completely bizarre and consistently surprising.


Just to reiterate, if the thought of playing a janky game full of clipping and questionable controls completely turns you off you absolutely won’t want to consider this game, it will drive you up the wall. However, if you want to experience one of the most pure (and unusual) sandbox games there is, you should check out some video and get a feel for it. This GOATY edition that has come to Switch has more variety and weird goat-y-ness than should perhaps be allowed, but if you’re open to seeing the fun in it I’d say it’s absolutely worth checking out.


Score: 8

Pros:
  • In many regards, despite its jankiness, it is one of the best true “sandbox” action games I’ve played
  • Each of the DLC pack areas has its own quirks and plenty to discover
  • Full of unexpected surprises and weirdness

Cons:
  • The controls can be questionable
  • Clipping and visual glitches abount
  • If you’re looking for a game to tell a story or even make any sense at all this won’t be a match for you