Goat Simulator: The Bundle (Xbox One) Review

By Sandy Wilson 19.06.2019

Review for Goat Simulator: The Bundle on Xbox One

Coffee Stain Studios in Sweden, which is also responsible for the Sanctum game series, released Goat Simulator in April 2014; a title that netted a surprisingly large cult following due to its overwhelming bizarreness. Going by the official webpages, it's fair to say that Goat Simulator may have been a social commentary of some form, or at least a very good prod at the amount of simulator games coming out of Europe at the time. Boasting "the most realistic goat physics" among other features, even the game's real description suggests spending your money on something else. Still, the game has also seen a slew of DLC packs exploring and parodying a variety of genres. Now on consoles players can experience the bundle version pre-packaged with two of the aforementioned DLC packs, and 4K visuals on the enhanced console range.

First, a word about features that are consistent throughout the entire game's history and its DLC packs. "Realistic" physics: so, from the goats that are under player control, to the human pedestrians, who exist purely to be jostled, everyone had a weird float-iness, and some wonderfully jelly-like ragdoll animation. These physics are what contribute to most of the enjoyment here, as characters and items catapult over the stage, causing all kinds of mayhem. The player is equipped with a dedicated button to ragdoll the goat, this means that, with enough momentum, a player can career into things and cause explosions, smash windows, and in some cases do some sick halfpipe sliding.

The next constant is the 'Lick' move. This allows the player-controlled goat to latch onto items by licking them. If this is used on small items and NPCs they can be dragged along and used to activate environmental interactions like sacrificial demon circles and combine harvesters. When used on cars and helicopters, the player goat will stick to them and be dragged around allowing for quite varied traversal. The goat can also jump, charge and bleat, each move is mapped to a face button allowing for easy use and uncomplicated gameplay.

Screenshot for Goat Simulator: The Bundle on Xbox One

Right at the start of the game it's obvious that this won't take itself seriously. It hides, next to the player, a small tower, and climbing this tower will unlock the goat hall, where, if the player heads all the way to the end, will unlock the royal goat, which allows one to summon goats when they "bleat." Running around there are challenges like a fighting arena and half pipes, it's incredibly unusual and actually pretty fun to complete these extras. Every level has collectable golden goat statues that also contribute to unlock new goat types. One of the best features is that this is entirely playable in co-op split screen, something that runs fairly well, and gives both players free reign of the stage.

Goat Simulator's original level is a suburban town with a city area, but now, with its entirety of DLC, it has the town and city levels, a fantasy setting, a zombie apocalypse, a heist, and space stage. Each one is a parody of a specific game genre, and has some fantastic puns and "in-jokes" throughout. The original level and city addition to this area feels like a play on the European simulator games that were coming out in droves in the early... err, '10s, with a semi-realistic setup and awkward bizarre physics. This setup was the perfect playground for the move set of the goats and was packed with challenges, tasks and pickups. Each challenge has a joke name and usually results in a goat skin unlock.

Screenshot for Goat Simulator: The Bundle on Xbox One

It's incredibly hard to explain the variety of content on offer without breaking down its DLCs, so as an example, this is what's contained in DLC 1: it is a fantasy setting, and takes MMORPG and RPG tropes, and has a lot of fun with them, as attacking now shows damage numbers, there are enemies with health bars, level ups, bosses and more. It is really quite surprising and totally different to the original game. Visually it takes cues from Skyrim, with a heavy grey pallet, and the goat wearing a spiked helmet. It features the largest map to explore in the game with a town complete with some surroundings, like a sea, and some caves. The jokes may be starting to age now but there are some classics. Of course, this shares the same core control and physics elements mentioned earlier in the DLC.

Every DLC has this level of love and detail, as well as a unique scenario, with one of the best being the GoatZ DLC, where the goal is to survive a zombie apocalypse with survival skills or/and spread the zombie virus through the town. It's full of havoc and mischief but, as ever, there is a limit to the novelty fun to be had in this here. Once a person has been headbutted there is nothing really to be gained by continuing to do so - once the weapons are crafted there is little reason to repeat the process.

Screenshot for Goat Simulator: The Bundle on Xbox One

It's this diminishing factor that can be attributed to novelty being a limited quantity, it really starts to put focus on the negatives. The shoddy frame-rates, awkward controls, and the glitches, among many things, become extremely prominent. This really did mark the downfall of an enjoyment factor that started incredibly high. That said, the incentives provided, like skin unlocks and collectables, alongside the challenges, mean that even if the fun factor starts to wear down, there is actually still lots to find and unlock, without this ever feeling contrived or like padding.

A brief mention of visuals and misc. Upgrades: the game's Xbox release has Xbox One X support for 4K. Goat Simulator doesn't really has bad graphics per se, but they are definitely simple, with some fairly low level of detail, and some pretty old-school, amateurish modelling. It's fair to assume this was a budget title, and most likely done as a joke, at least before it's expansions, but it does have some cool elements, and the bizarre physics engine is most likely what causes the slowdown. Not having a 4K TV it's hard to tell if there is much of an upgrade, but on the down sampled 1080p display, the visuals were certainly sharper and cleaner than before. Also, on the more advanced hardware, the frame rate dips were definitely less severe, especially in co-op mode.

Screenshot for Goat Simulator: The Bundle on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Goat Simulator is a bundle of fun. Its baffling lack of polish and crazy misdemeanours are so charming and, in all honesty, hilarious, making this hard to put down... initially. Playing it with a friend will provide a couple more hours of entertainment, and could liven up a party a little if it needs an ice breaker. That said Goat Simulator is a lot of things and in the end it will wear thin. A fun romp but only while it lasts. In the words of its creators, you'd probably be best to spend your money on something else, if it's not on sale.

Developer

Coffee Stain

Publisher

Double Eleven

Genre

Simulation

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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