I never thought that Goat Simulator would become such a huge part of my life. I remember dismissing it at launch. You run around as a goat? Alright, but not for me — largely due to my fear of goats. Fast forward a few years, and it turns out that having a kid that thinks Goat Simulator is far more than ‘alright’ means that those little four-legged beasts kicked and screamed their way into my home — and my heart.
The main appeal of Goat Simulator is that it’s an open sandbox of quirky, goaty daftness. You can run around headbutting and licking people, equipping different mutators, discovering secrets and collectibles, and more. The world is your goat playpen, and you get to go and gruff it up. Recently at EGX 2022 in London, I had the opportunity to take Goat Simulator 3 for a spin. Or, more accurately, a bleating, clip-clop run where I often found myself sliding along the ground because of the game’s hilarious ragdoll physics. It’s full of everything you know and love from the original, but it ramps the goaty goodness up to 11.
I was lucky enough to have Stuart Docherty, Goat Simulator 3’s Sound Designer and Composer, on hand to walk me through my goat escapades. He showed me how mutators have, well, mutated, and are now called goat gears. You have multiple slots available (head, back, body, feet, fur), and you can equip different gear in each slot to mix it up. With over 350 gears available, the chances of you and your friend rocking the same goat setup is unlikely.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Goat Simulator without plenty of pop culture references. Once I told Docherty that the sound of the Deadgoa7 mutator is often heard echoing throughout our house, he told me about a new Batman-inspired gear lovingly dubbed Flyman. It plays a derpy goaty version of the ‘Na na na na na’ theme, while also having comic book-esque pop ups that say phrases like ‘Pow!’ appear when you hit things.
One of the best things about Goat Simulator is the little secrets and references you can discover by really exploring and going off the beaten path, so it was great to see that the sequel continues to encourage players to explore to the fullest. As well as more collectibles and easter eggs, there are challenge objectives that you can just stumble across while roaming the world that feel frequently rewarding and satisfying.
One such challenge I found was a plant patch, where a picture sign gave me a hint about what I needed to do — make the plants grow. First up, this meant fertilising them. I found bags of fertiliser nearby, grabbed a bag with a good old lick, and dragged them over the plants. Job done. The next step was to sing to the plants. Well, we all know goats can’t sing (at least, not well), but a few screaming bleats had giant beanstalks shooting from the ground.
I stood on one of the leaves and continued to bleat, watching as the plant took me up into the air with it. I did this for some time. Long enough for Docherty to tell me they didn’t put a limit on how high these could go, and I noticed I should probably just stop to see other things in the demo. So I bid farewell to my beanstalk and plummeted to the ground in true ragdoll fashion.
Another nice touch was the regal goat Throne Room. In each region, you’ll find a tower that needs syncing that will allow you to travel to and from the Throne Room. It starts as a complete trash pit that you can restore by completing specific events around the map, and as you progress, it will upgrade and become nice and shiny. Then you can go and simply trash it again by headbutting all the furniture. What else did you expect goats to do? Docherty told me that in these hallowed halls, once the final progression stage has been completed, players will discover the game’s finale.
For me, the biggest highlight of Goat Simulator 3 is that it has four-player co-op, and unlike the original, this includes online as well as local multiplayer. Myself and my goat buddies (read: other random players at EGX) were causing the usual havoc, headbutting, destroying, and dragging things around with our tongues. I’d found myself a rocket launcher and was busy blowing up everyone and everything in my path when we came across a minigame.
I’m sure I don’t need to explain the concept of King of the Hill to you, so as you can imagine, we all fought to headbutt and bump each other off the top of a stack of hay bales. But while I was being sent flying through the air, it was then that I realised just how perfect Goat Simulator 3 was going to be as a candidate for our TheGamer game nights. If there’s something daft and hilarious that we can play together, you better believe we will. The only real downside is having to have multiple games on the go as co-op is limited to four players only.
I left the demo realising that the real GOAT of Goat Simulator 3 is the online play. Playing Goat Simulator with my family currently means all of us cramming into the same room. The lounge accommodates us well enough, but we much prefer our own space. I have my work office with a comfy gaming chair, my son has his favourite bean bag in his room with his trusty battered controllers (he’s a dropper), while my husband likes to lounge on the sofa in the living room with his impossibly large TV.
Goat Simulator 3 means we’ll all be able to still enjoy getting our goat on together but from the comfort of our own little gaming setups. You might think that’s weird, but the lounge is the coldest room in the house (have you seen those energy bill prices?), adults just aren’t made for sharing bean bags in a room where every step you take is in a Lego minefield, and my office is an attic conversion where my husband bangs his head on the sloped ceiling non-stop. I know this sounds like some weird Goldilocks and the Three Goats situation, but there is no room that is “just right” for all three of us, so online multiplayer solves that problem.
I’m sure most people don’t have this weird setup, but the beauty of Goat Simulator 3 means that it can bring friends together too. Now, my son can share his love for all things goat with his mates. Perhaps now I’ll hear something other than him shouting about Fortnite over his headset when he plays online, but I might get a little worried if he starts shouting “no, no, you’ve gotta lick it!” to his friends.
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