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Goat Simulator review: Goat + physics sandbox = dumb fun

Hayden Dingman | April 3, 2014
What kind of madness hath the Internet wrought this time? Something dumb. Real dumb--and yet something hilariously fun at the same time.

What kind of madness hath the Internet wrought this time? Something dumb. Real dumb — and yet something hilariously fun at the same time.

That something is Goat Simulator, which began life as a silly Internet video but blossomed into a full game due to public demand.

At its core, Goat Simulator is just a physics engine with a goat as the main character. All the hilarity of Goat Simulator comes from setting up those physics pins and then knocking them back down, most likely with the goat's flailing, braying body.

Want to see a goat get hit by a car? Want to see a goat jump on a trampoline? Want to see a goat go down a waterslide, land on a trampoline, and then headbutt a car until it explodes? Hopefully your answers are "Yes," "Yes," and "Oh hell yes," or you might as well stop reading this review right now and go play something more serious. Goat-hater.

Yes, this is a game where you can do all the dumb things I listed above and so much more. While Goat Simulator never really transcends to become more than a goat-starring physics sandbox, Coffee Stain Studios has at least packed this playground with a ton to do.

Goat Simulator is deceptively simple — so much so that I'm worried people will miss the best parts. It would be all too easy to boot the game, run around for a bit, headbutt a few dumpsters, maybe blow up a car or two, and then think you've seen all there is to be seen. Because the game already has a reputation as a physics sandbox with a goat, the natural inclination is to play, see it is indeed a physics sandbox with a goat, and then wonder why the heck you bought this thing.

The element of sur-baas

I've never been surprised by a game as many times in as short a period as I was with Goat Simulator. Every corner, every nook and cranny, is packed with secrets. I'd be remiss if I spoiled a single of the game's secrets, because the whole experience relies on traipsing around the map like some sort of Vas-goat da Gama.

But wow. If you enjoyed The Stanley Parable's brand of "Can I do this? Oh wow, not only can I do this but there's an entire joke hidden here," type of mayhem, you're going to love this insane goat world. Goat Simulator is neither as eloquent nor erudite as The Stanley Parable, and it's more a sketch show than social commentary, but boy did it make me laugh a lot.

I mean, tears streaming out of my eyes laughing. There's even video proof out there on the Internet somewhere. Between this, Jazzpunk, Octodad, and The Stanley Parable, did we finally figure out how to do comedy in games? It certainly seems that way.


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