Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Goat Simulator. Yes, Goat Simulator

goat simulator title poster
"It's baaaaaad."
You likely already know about it. Heck, you probably already own it; but to those poor few of you that are unaware of the recent release that has rocked the gaming world I'd like to introduce you to Goat Simulator. At long last your dreams of digitally emulating bovine life can be fulfilled in glorious technicolour.

I would like to find the right words to describe this game, but I think only the pictures can do it justice. And so, with only the lightest of context and critique, in ascending order from weird and humorous to horrifyingly hilarious, I present to you, dear reader, the wonder that is Goat Simulator.

goat simulator screenshot glitch

The first thing you'll notice when you boot up GS is just how bad it is. Truly, intentionally and unashamedly awful. The frame rate is embarrassingly jumpy, objects decide using what appears to be the first example of active free will in a computer program whether or not they wish to render themselves in front of you (sometimes appearing after you're already standing on top of them) and the physics engine will randomly spaz out on you like an epileptic octopus in a tumble dryer, flinging you and everything else around the map with wild abandon. There's even an achievement for making the game crash. And every second of it is perfect.

goat simulator screenshot shop doritos
Attempting to buy a packet of Doritos is a marathon effort.
goat simulator screenshot angel goat flying tongue
Thirty seconds ago I was trying to lick a mattress.
Your first hour of play will be spent getting used to the mechanics, smashing the ever loving shit out of every nearby household and glitching into anything and everything.

goat simulator screenshot glitch
goat simulator screenshot glitch neck
Who knew that goat necks were so malleable?
At the hour mark you might start to get bored of bouncing on trampolines and start to think "shit, is this it?". This appears to be where many reviewers must have stopped playing, because much of the criticism in these reviews revolves around the lack of features to keep your interest. Keep going, however, and you'll start to come across some of the more curious corners of the game. The jetpack, for example:

goat simulator screenshot jetpack
Or the ability to use your tongue to stick to a hang glider:

goat simulator screenshot glider tongue
Or being crowned the Goat Queen and learning the ability to make goats rain from the sky:

goat simulator screenshot castle bowing
Game of Thrones Season 4 has replaced the Iron Throne with this one.
Things just kind of escalate from there.

goat simulator screenshot space
*no baaa, because space is a vacuum and baaaing isn't allowed*
Soon you'll be wandering around as a steroid-addled demon goat with the ability to Thu-um people into oblivion and a baseball pitching machine strapped to your back. Yes, of course I have a picture of that:

goat simulator screenshot steroid pentagram evil ball pitcher
I have nothing more to say about this.
I think the moment I realised the extent of what Coffee Stain Studios have managed to achieve here was when I stopped to take in what I was doing: I was an angel goat with the ability to roll into a blue ball and catapult myself across the map, dragging a robot with my tongue to a pentagram at the end of a mountain path so that I might get him to give me a bitchin' haircut. It's amazing how quickly you go from chuckling at the general glitchiness of the game while you headbutt cars to descending into a twisted world that should only be at home in the laudanum-fuelled night terrors of Dr Seuss. 

goat simulator screenshot creepy glitch
"On the 15th of May, in the Jungle of Nool, in the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool, no-one heard Horton screaming."
Most of these oddities come in the form of "mutations" that can be acquired for your goat either by stumbling across them, completing a certain series of tasks or collecting golden goat trophies hidden around the world. They all have goaty names, like "Space Goat", "Tall Goat", "Italian Dinosaur Goat" and "Giant Goat". And by giant goat, it actually means a beached whale.

goat simulator screenshot giant whale
Magikarp used Splash!
A great little feature is the ability to customise your goat in the main menu before starting a game with any mutations you might have found so far. The mutations stack, however, which means if you get a little too trigger-happy with your choices you might end up with something that resembles a glowing Eldritch abomination that actively defies physics and your subconscious' attempts to block the memory of it from your mind for ever.

goat simulator screenshot scary stretch
"Oh my god it's behind yuuuaghu-wgah'n shogg syha'h mnahn' orr'e!"
So yes. Goat Simulator is terrible. And yet somehow it is also one of the best sandbox games I've played in a long time, bringing forth fond memories of the physics-bending time-sink of carnage that is Garry's Mod, while simultaneously being absolutely nothing like it. It might be a silly gimmick (you'll be lucky to get more than a few evenings of fun out of it), but it's undoubtedly the funniest and most memorable gimmick I've seen in a long time. It's a diamond so rough it's still technically coal, but there are rarely such games that can both instill blind terror when you accidentally create the bovine edition of Silent Hill -

goat simulator screenshot scary glowing eyes dark
"When you gaze long into the abyss, a goat also gazes into you." - Nietzsche
- and hilarity seconds later when you discover the joy of watching exploding watermelons in slow-motion.

goat simulator screenshot explosion ragdoll
Michael Baaaay.
I love you, Goat Simulator, and I eagerly await what the twisted minds of the internet manage to dream up to mod into you. I give Penis Goat two weeks.

What You Could Do Instead

Play Super Mario 64 With the Cartridge Pulled Out a Little - 
You get a similar effect.

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