If you had to sum Goat Sim up in a word, it would undoubtedly be... weird. An ample reminder of what happens when you let a small team from Sweden play with a physics engine, Goat Simulator is what's been described as a "physics sandbox" - where explosions are everyday occurrences, everyone's a rag-doll, and bugs turn into features at the blink of an eye.
Play quizzes, win prizes! Test your knowledge with our quizzes, and you could win £/$/€ 20 of PSN/XBL/eShop/Steam credit!
It's probably safe to say that realism isn't exactly very high up on the list of Goat Sim's priorities. This is a game about making things explode, causing havoc, and having a laugh. When a game comes with a built-in rag-doll button, designed to turn your beast's legs into jelly at the touch of a button (because what's funnier than a floppy goat being flung through the air?), you can probably guess at the sort of game you're letting yourself in for.
Before we get started though, a word of warning for the larries amongst us. As one of the few console games with support for four player split-screen, Goat Sim has been designed to be enjoyed with friends. After all, there's no point doing ridiculous stuff if there's no-one around to enjoy it, and it's much more fun watching someone else hurl their goat through a window, onto a trampoline, and through someone's greenhouse than it is doing it yourself, so it's well worth dragging a few friends in for the goating antics. In fact, if you're playing alone, we'd probably err towards not buying Goat Sim, as it can all be a little bit dull if you're on your lonesome.
With a group of four people in tow, however, it's another thing entirely. Presented with one of two locales - a harbour, and a quiet town - you're given license to go wild. Crazy things have been placed in crazy places for you to (you guessed it) get crazy with, and your goat comes equipped with the moves to suit, whether you're jumping on a bike that's been left awkwardly on a roof (yes, goats can ride bikes every bit as well as a bipedal human), running around the low gravity test centre (which makes you float as much as you'd imagine), or licking a passing rollercoaster as it glides by.
Weirdly enough, as an animal with no opposable thumbs, or even digits, licking things is your primary method of interaction in Goat Sim. Lick a person, and they'll instantly rag-doll to be dragged around at your will (and thrown wherever you want). Lick a car, and you'll suddenly be flying along behind it, held on only by the strangely sticky nature of your elastick-y tongue. Lick a roller coaster, or a helicopter and, well, you're in for a heck of a ride.
But while the mayhem and chaos will keep you busy for a short while, there isn't actually that much to keep you coming back to Goat Sim. There are some collectibles to be found, and a Tony Hawk's style goals system that sets you various challenges to achieve, whether it's manualling for a certain distance (yes, this goat can manual), pulling off a wall ride or just jumping over an obstacle - but there aren't too many of them to achieve, and even those that are just about do-able are often glitchy. The one for manualling a certain distance is particularly frustrating, as your goat simply collapses at the first sign of a breeze, while achieving a certain amount of air time, or a massive score can be equally tricky.
On the other hand, the game's trophies are much more inventive, and much more rewarding. For unlocking most of these trophies, you'll unlock some sort of mutator in the game - a game modifying power up that you can apply at will. Whether it's a double jump, a jet pack, or a "classy goat" (otherwise known as a penguin), it's well worth spending the time trying to figure out what most of these trophies are actually for, as some of the mutators you get are game changing. Little did they mention that this isn't just a goat sim - it's also a giraffe, penguin and ostrich sim, too. Although any game that ties a trophy to achieving a certain score on a Flappy Bird clone (here called - you guessed it - Flappy Goat) deserves to have its morals questioned.
For more multiplayer antics, there's also a number of similarly awkwardly physics-ed minigames to help raise a smile, from the bike races around town (which usually end in tears), to the game of ice hockey, where you slide your rag-doll goat around the on a giant, empty rink, trying in vain to steer the puck into your friend's net. Again, it's totally ridiculous, but a lot of fun.
Still, while Goat Sim may not have much in the way of sticking power, as a party game you pull out every once in a while, Goat Sim is a great deal of fun. While those playing on their own may want to think twice, those who have a group of friends to squeeze onto the sofa will get a good few hours of laughs out of this. Just don't expect it to be the kind of game you'll keep coming back to, as, unlike the goat's tongue, Goat Sim is somewhat lacking in sticking power.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 3