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Goat Simulator

If foolishness had a face, it'd be one of a goat, with its tongue dangling from its mouth.

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And hey, that's you. You play as the four-legged animal, walking around aimlessly in an anonymous city, spreading panic and destruction as you go.

It's an unusual sim-type game dreamt by Swedish outfit Coffee Stain Studios (Sanctum), a joke turned actuality as the creators tried to think of the most stupid and non-sensical thing in the world. They cam up with "parkouring goat".

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Goat Simulator immediately became a massive phenomenon; in part because of its complete insanity, in part because it's deliberately full of bugs, and with awful graphics. It reeks of weirdness. Goat Simulator wants to entertain bored players who are eager to turn off their brains for a bit. And believe me: that goal is fully achieved.

Goat Simulator

"Goat Simulator is a small, broken and stupid game": it seems the team at Coffee Stain Studios are telling us. "We do not have pretensions. The game is deliberately short, dysfunctional and stupid." We're paraphrasing, but you get the idea, it's silly and they know it.

In a world where serious indie studios dominate the scene and add a sophisticated air to their creativity, Coffee Stain takes the parodistic approach here, the kind of humour that reminds us of more of Monty Python.

When we start the game, we're given brief instructions re the controls (WASD for moving the goat, Shift for running, Space-bar for jumping and so on) and are told we have to go around in the city, destroying everything we come across to accumulate points.

The concept is simple, effective and addictive: in the frantic search for higher and higher scores (that we can share with other players online) we begin to seek out and destroy everything in sight. A fence? SMASH! A group of hippie protesters? CHARGE! Blowing up a gas station? Why not!?

Free will is our motto, and as it is with most sandbox games, we can really do anything that we want to.

The goat accumulates high-scores by creating chaos and confusion, accumulating multipliers. There's even oddball achievements that are increasingly hard to earn. You're able to challenge your friends in time trials that are spread out around town, and try and climb online leaderboards. Once you start, it's hard to quit.

In addition to this deliciously rich mix, there are also a series of Easter Eggs that you'll find on - the rather small - map. It makes exploration more enjoyable, and adds an extra touch of craziness to the mix.

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Along with being downright foolish and silly, what we love most about this experience is the multitude of bugs and horrible graphics. There wasn't a house we visited in which we didn't find ourselves trapped within in its walls - something that remind us of the first The Sims, where it was not that unusual to find your Sim stuck in a wall, forcing us to restart the game. Gas stations (the destruction of which catapults you into the sky and earns you a Michael Bay achievement) inexplicably disappear. We're forced to restart, over and over. Yet we're laughing rather than ranting.

Ugly, short, broken. But Goat Simulator is nothing more than a reflection of a lot of junk that can be found on Steam. You can see it as a criticism of the incessant proliferation of simulators (but more generally, of bad games) - products that are simply pointless.

Besides this critical analysis of the game market that prefers quantity to quality and follows trends at the expense of creativity, Coffee Stain Studios seems to criticise indies that overcomplicate with creative ideas. In short, the Swedish outfit aren't pulling any punches.

If we think about the cinema and the theatre - where parody has long been, and still is, a staple, you can find strong artistic criticism behind the veneer of insane humour - and this game does the same.

Or maybe its just a very crap game about an apocalyptic goat.

Goat Simulator is stupid, pointless and screwball, but it's deliberate. A unique and unmissable title. A forerunner to a new kind of genre perhaps, and one that maybe we'll see more of in the years to come.

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Goat Simulator
Goat Simulator
08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
Non-sensical humour, Stupid music, Plenty of challenge.
Not very rich on content, Long gaming sessions could cause nausea because of the camera.
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