Man, farming must be one hell of an exciting job.
Although I guess it depends on the video game you’re playing. Driving a virtual combine in Farming Simulator or planting crops in Agricultural Simulator is about gripping as watching Tetris replays in slow-motion.
But Goat Simulator... if I’d known goats were superpowered, gravity-defying, homicidal servants of Satan, I wouldn’t have skipped that field trip to the farm in the fifth grade.
Released, appropriately enough, on April Fool’s Day, Goat Simulator is a gag that took on a life of its own, growing into a game (of sorts) with a title that riffs on the ever more niche range of simulator games, from Mining and Tunneling Simulator to Warehouse and Logistics Simulator. Some white-knuckle fare, that.
Developed by Swedish indie Coffee Stain Studios and available as a mere $10 download via Steam or goat-simulator.com, Goat Simulator is a one-trick ungulate that’s actually a little more fun in theory than it is in practice.
It’s a so-called sandbox game in which you, the player, are a goat let loose in a small slice of a city suburb, free to explore and wreak havoc. Other than the fact you’re controlling an indestructible goat, the world loosely follows the laws of physics, which makes it satisfying to smash into gas pumps to cause a Michael Bay-worthy explosion, butt a boulder down a hill and crush a backyard BBQ party or use your goat’s sticky tongue to latch onto a hang glider flying lazy circles around the city.
There’s no narrative here, you’re simply head-butting hapless humans, smashing cars, bouncing on trampolines, shooting at people with a pitching machine mounted on your back, flying through the air with a jetpack, playing a game-within-a-game called Flappy Goat, warping into a castle where you are the demon queen of all goatkind... you know, the usual stuff.
I managed to squeeze about four or five hours of decent fun out of Goat Simulator, during which I completed all but a handful of the game’s objectives, found most of the hidden golden goat statues and tried out all of the various ruminant forms, including the maniacal devil goat who can create gravity vortexes that suck in everything nearby.
Goat Simulator is so unapologetically buggy that there’s an achievement unlocked for causing the game to crash. My goat frequently fell through the ground into a bottomless void, got stuck inside a solid object or was twisted and stretched into hilarious, impossible shapes. When playing as the devil goat, using my special power would often launch me into the sky to ricochet endlessly around the world’s invisible walls – or to find a crack between them and become the first goat in space. Luckily, respawning your goat is a simple (and often necessary) process.
The game allows for user-created mods, and downloading new levels and tweaks might give this kid some extra legs. But I suspect most players will have a few hours of fun and then file this game away as an occasional novelty to pull out when they’re especially bored, drunk or just need to give their goat a good thrashing. That’s not a euphemism. Probably.