As erroneous a question as it might appear, if double eleven asked “MMOre Goatz?” I would exclaim yes with the vigour of a screeching child offered a bowl of sugar for breakfast. I love goats, I love simulating things and I especially love simulating what life would be like as a goat. That isn’t a serious aspiration, nor should it ever be. This game thrives on the ridiculous in the same way Charlie Sheen thrives on…whatever he claims. You can’t take your eyes of the absurd spectacle! So without further ado, let’s explore how and why Goatz are #winning.
So, what’s new in the world of goat simulation? If you have the original Goat Simulator for Xbox one, you can expect the same basic mechanics to the gameplay but with a few major additions in the form of wider narrative. The original goat simulator allowed the player to roam 2 modern settings, wreaking havoc, completing challenges, earning achievements and more importantly, mutating your goat! you’re a goat. This time, instead of booting up to see 2 destinations of play in the main menu, you have 4 options split into 2 modes, one is the MMO option, the other GoatZ, a pun of DayZ. I have previously played the MMO on my PC and knew my way around the first region but having played very little I got the sense this time that the area was larger than I recall, with much to do and see. Having played a rogue class last time, I started up as a tank this time, however, all this being quite light fun, you can switch classes through mutators as any point (or put them all on as I did for a time, at your peril). Rather than a list of challenges, you know have quest giving NPCs. Quests are simple and range from killing certain enemies a set number of times, fetching items and destroying objects to dragging NPCs to new areas. The NPCs often have written dialogue boxes on receipt and completion of quests, however these are not voiced, are small and often play quickly. Something tells me this is part of the fun, but I still feel I’m missing someone’s well devised content if I can’t read it. It’s a small issue but an issue nonetheless, a bit like getting your face painted for the sheer comedic irony, yet somehow wanting to appreciate the quality of the effort.
Your goat now has pockets, perhaps metaphorical ones as I’m not sure (and would rather not know) where items are being stored but it does allow for some excellent moments, like putting a T Rex in your inventory. Why? because you can of course! The slight annoyance I had with the inventory was that the button to store licked items was the same as the one to groundouts on my character, sometimes storing and at other points causing the items to flip away wildly.
I think you can get well into the game within a couple of hours however there will always be collectible trophies and odd achievements to keep you challenged for longer than that. There are leaderboards included too for some aspects of the game, a chat panel which I still can’t decide whether was genuine or not, and a levelling system mainly engaged through quests and smashing everything in true goat style.
Moving onto the GoatZ mode, you have an entirely new urban area to explore, complete with a GTA V style parachute race and dodgem challenge akin to the races of the first game. The twist with GoatZ is that you are an infected goat, capable of spreading a zombie plague throughout the area, if you so choose! Doing so will trigger a survival mode with crafting, health and food management as you seek to thrive in this harsh environment. This mode has a mutator to turn off the food aspect, which I did not use, but it’s there for the more casual zombie slayer. I really dig this mode. It’s different, challenging, even frustrating, but gives an individual like myself that yearning to go from survive to thrive as I craft weapons for use against the zombies, eat everything I can find and constantly search for health packs and air drops. You are also giving timed challenges that result in bonuses once completed and are constantly working on a day by day survival clock, counting up your time since outbreak. I can see this being where I spend some serious hours, trying to craft and use all the items and learn the places of safety from the horde.
The game also supports 4 player local multiplayer for those who want to cause mayhem together and the MMO is live though I’m not sure how many players are connected to each session. Regardless, these 2 features are cool!
Graphically the games are consistent in quality to the previous game, though have a few Astra visual treats when passing between regions. There is a greater sense of consciousness in the AI in both of these new modes that is very welcome. Only at one point did things really flip out and I believe it had something to do with me trying to use mutations to achieve flight as a T Rex… Needless to say, that’s just asking for trouble.
Continuing to offer a great suite of voice and sound effect clips for comedy, explosions, atmospheric noise and, of course, high quality goat samples, the audio accompaniment will have you laughing just as much as the on screen effects. Placement and reactivity of sound is great and the only disappointment I feel is in the lack of voiced quest givers.
At £7.99, this is a formidable package of content and sits on one of the lowest price points available. I’d say even if you are new to the series, this game offers a greater experience for the MMO fan, albeit playing up to the genre in a hilarious manner and thenGoatZ mode also offers a lot. What you get over and above the previous game is variety, depth and larger scale. What’s not to like?
A game like this offers two types of experience in terms of investment time. Either a player will jump in, have some fun and move along quickly at a bargain price or players will look under every rock to really get hidden value. If you consider the latter your preferred approach than this is moot point. You are clearly going to get some quality game time here! If you just want to throw some spare hours at an experience for under £10, consider some of our other recent indie game reviews to strike the balance of achievable fun. I, for one, enjoy every goat filled moment I play!
MMOre maps, MMOre modes, MMOre GoatZ! If you liked the original, prepare for your very own goat adventure as you level your way through a fantasy land or survive the zombie outbreak with your ingenuity. MMOre pleaZ!