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Wacky physics and whimsy feed 'Goat Simulator'

Much of the enjoyment you’ll get from "Goat Simulator" is tied to how funny you find sending an indestructible mammal hurtling into the sky after trying to head butt a semi-truck.

Every so often, a game is released that reminds us all that gaming is ultimately, not that serious of a hobby. "Goat Simulator," from Coffee Stain Studios, is the game flying that particular banner in 2014.

In "Goat Simulator," players are given full control of an indestructible goat, armed with a full host of goat-related abilities and let loose upon a world in which physics are more of a suggestion than an immutable law of nature. In this world gone mad, players can head butt houses, jump over cars and backflip off trampolines — you know, basic goat stuff.

Points are accumulated by successfully completing stunts and finishing side missions that involve things like blowing up a gas station or fending off all challengers in goat fight club. The first rule of goat fight club is that we do not talk about what happens when you finish goat fight club, but it is sufficiently hilarious.

The game feels quite a bit like the free range modes in older skateboarding games. Much like those games, the entire point is to pull off crazy stunts, revel in some silly humor and not worry about getting invested in a time sink.

The game is very simple and straightforward, which is to be expected as Coffee Stain created the simulator during a game jam — a quick fire game development challenge — and released it as somewhat of an April’s Fool’s joke.

Much of the enjoyment you’ll get from "Goat Simulator" is tied to how funny you find sending an indestructible mammal hurtling into the sky after trying to head butt a semi-truck. If that sounds dumb to you (it’s sort of meant to) then this game is probably not for you. 

Accumulating points don’t unlock anything for players, but there are plenty of little secrets and Easter eggs to be found scattered around the world. Adventurous players can find a jet pack, unlock an evil goat avatar and ride a hang glider across the town.

I found "Goat Simulator" to be a fun little diversion, but ultimately it’s a joke and like any joke, the more you hear it, the less entertaining it is. I had a blast sending my goat down a waterslide, bouncing it off a trampoline and sending it rocketing into lower-orbit, but that’s really all there is to the game.

It’s a bit pricey for what it offers, coming in at $10. It’s not an exorbitant price tag, but it’s more akin to a mobile phone game than a full-fledged release. This same game with a lower price tag and on mobile platforms would have been perfect, as it’s perfectly suited for quick a play through at a bus stop or while waiting in line. Still, Coffee Stain has promised loads of free content and PC games go on sale fairly regularly, so it may be worth looking at when it dips below $5.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of silly humor and want a change of pace from the normal indie-platformer and early-access titles littering budget PC gaming, give this a shot. All other players may want to avoid it.

Platforms: PC via Steam

darnell.michael@stripes.com

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