Goat Simulator 3 continues to be a foolish sport about being a shitty goat

There is a very convenient way to accurately and concisely deduce the level of absurdity that Goat Simulator 3 aspire: There is no such thing Goat Simulator 2.

Those familiar with Caprine Coffee Stain and chaotic antics will likely recognize Goat Simulator as a very popular sandbox game long ago. For those who don’t know, the premise is simple: you are a goat with a penchant for misbehavior, tasked with causing as much fuss as possible. From headbutting civilians to sticking tongue out all in sight, this is a game that revolves mostly around complete and total frenzy.

The sequel — once again, Goat Simulator 3, because three comes after one in goat language — based on similar chaos principles. What might surprise people, however, is that it is the kind of chaos that has been filtered through layers of sophistication. It’s definitely not Arkane game (imagine if Goat Simulator located at Dunwall…), but it’s a marked improvement over the original. So even though it’s not my jam, I can admit that he knows what he wants, and puts things in exactly that way.

Ironically, Goat Simulator‘s the greatest strength is always how rough the mechanics are. The game, which comes from a prank project designed for game jam, is riddled with the kinds of bugs that should make it nearly impossible to play — but by its very nature as literal goat simulator, they just make it funnier. From Pilgor, the raucous ragdolling of goats to the wild evil that springs from the invisible cracks in the seams of the sandbox, Goat Simulator quickly established itself as an excellent game to play with friends.

A trio of goats wearing jet packs prepare to be launched from the roof of a newsstand in this screenshot from Goat Simulator 3

Image: Coffee Stains

This is one of many details that the developers at Coffee Stain clearly knew while working on it Goat Simulator 3. While the original game supported couch co-op, the sequel features a dedicated online multiplayer component that allows up to four players to compete in various minigames, which include a proprietary version of golf, treasure hunt, and The Floor Is Lava. If the original game was jagged rock, Goat Simulator 3 is the result of what happens when you mine the rock for gems and embed it into something nicer to look at. It’s not a diamond necklace, but it’s, like… a smooth granite panel with a few stones that look like diamonds interspersed. As I said before: He knows what his goals are and is very good at staying true to them.

But it’s also ambitious in other ways. Instead of being a pure sandbox specifically designed to facilitate chaos, Goat Simulator 3 has a story mode. It doesn’t really aim to tell prestige (I’m not kidding when I say this literally about the Goat Illuminati), but it exists to serve as a sort of general guide to weaving all the individual instances of absurdity together. To advance the story, you basically visit Ubisoft to unlock world-style towers scattered sporadically across the map, each of which will help you unlock the mysterious and impressive door that leads to the Goat Castle. What’s behind it is anyone’s guess – but chances are it’s probably pretty wild.

The main story is definitely not very demanding — most of the Goat Simulator 3‘s its appeal is the fact that it generally asks very little of you, leaving you to your own devices more often than not. But the scale of this style of play has also been expanded and repeated.

For example, there is a house somewhere on the map that belongs to an old woman with a rocket launcher. When you approach him, he will start shooting at you, but if you hit him with the fireworks launcher or gore, you will open a secret passage to his dungeon that leads to… catastrophe-Style corridor shooter inhabited by a dozen other bazooka grannies. Once you defeat them all, you can actually unlock these characters as attachments — and given that in addition to a goat, you can play as a shark, a giraffe, and more, the “How weird can we make this game? ” was definitely a regular topic of discussion during development.

You can actually play Goat Simulator 3 as a shark on a skateboard driven by an old woman with a rocket launcher.

A trio of goats playing The Floor is Lava, jumping from rooftop to rooftop in Goat Simulator 3

Image: Coffee Stains

Finally, Goat Simulator 3 maybe exactly what you think. This is a more refined version of the first game with a lot of new features, most of which obviously stem from careful observation of the original elements that suit people. The mobility is a little tighter, the sandbox is a little more responsive, and the random achievements have a little more rhyme and reason to them. But at the end of the day, it’s still a silly game about being a very annoying goat—there’s a pretty low limit to how serious it can be.

More than anything, Goat Simulator 3 feels like a great party game to play with friends. Everyone in my demo session at Gamescom, including people who weren’t in the lobby with me, laughed almost 100% while I was there. It doesn’t deserve special respect for its work in innovation, systems design, or anything else. But it’s hard to criticize something that has such a clear design ethos and manages to stick to it with near-perfect accuracy.

If you think you might be interested Goat Simulator 3You will be—and that’s the most honest thing anyone can say about it.

Goat Simulator 3 heading to PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X on November 17.

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