Goat Simulator 3 is a third-person sandbox adventure developed by Coffee Stain North and published by Coffee Stain Publishing. A follow up to 2014’s Goat Simulator, you again play as a goat who is venturing forth into an all-new, totally realistic, sandbox farmyard experience that puts you back in the hooves of no one’s favourite female protagonist, Pilgor! You can play solo or invite up to three friends to explore, play mini-games and wreak havoc on the world together. The game will launch on November 17 (November 18 for us in ANZ) on PlayStation 5, Xbox X/S and PC via Epic Games Store.
This review focuses on the PS5 version of the game, and I borrowed a PS5 to play this game. After the PS5 went into power save mode or restarted, it would delete my profile and the game data! I had to restart the game a lot of times which may have coloured my overall view of the game.
Goat Simulator 3 starts off with you and a couple of other goats being awoken by a farmer saying “you’re awake” in a cart that is named Skyrim. That is the first of many references to other famous games. This was satisfying but made me think about why they would need to do that in a goat simulator that was originally used for training game developers, so I can see a link there, but it was a bit odd in-game and didn’t sit right with me.
You then quickly figure out that the goat mechanics from the OG game are still there – Pilgor’s baaaack! You can lick, headbutt and ragdoll but you can also now double jump, steal/drive cars and wall-ride. Which makes for a bit of fun whilst trying to get from place to place or solving a puzzle. I particularly liked when some quests unlocked a secret area nearby. One particular area had a Wolfenstein 3D style theme which was good fun and hit the nostalgia feels.
If you decide to synchronise Assassin’s Creed-style with the first tower (disappointing we couldn’t goat dive off the top into a hay bale), you can then enter the tower and you’re transported to a large area that reminded me of a temple in Skyrim. You then find a large door that is closed with chains with the first unlocked for you. As you build up chaos by completing quests around the giant island of San Angora, it breaks another chain. I didn’t get to see what’s behind it, but I imagine it’s something demonic and goat-like!
The customisation available to deck out Pilgor is probably the highlight of the game. Sitting with my toddler and letting her pick out pink gumboots along with a woodchopper’s outfit was nice. She got a good giggle out of it. You could even get a cannon on top of Pilgor which shot out a change of clothes and there’s a bunch of others that were a mix of hilarious (giraffe-goat) and useful (golden wings that lets you fly by pressing X repeatedly in the air).
The general gameplay loop, excluding the multiplayer aspect because there were no available games due to pre-release, was ok. The delay in movement seemed to be a bit off though. The best way to describe it is it was like playing PUBG in the early days. Kind of like trying to move a heavy boat in rough seas. The chaos that was the first game was not as apparent in this game. Yes, it’s random and funny but it has lost the pure chaos of the first which is what made me love the game. In the first, the destruction was satisfying and crazy and all sorts of weird things would happen – like when you climbed a ladder, the goat’s neck would spin around in a really uncomfortable way. Or you would just get randomly blown up into the sky. Yes, getting stuck was annoying, but it made the game! I was looking forward to the chaos and it’s kind of there but it’s almost too polished.
There are plenty of things to in the game such as collecting hats and trinkets. These are generally in hard-to-get spots that require a bit of creativity to access. For example, there is a toilet block that is locked, and you need to find a key. So off you go head-butting any crate in the near vicinity. You eventually find the key, lick it to bring it to the door and then unlock it. Out burst a heap of people (way too many to be in a stinky toilet block), knocking poor Pilgor for six, then in we went to collect a new plunger cosmetic. It adds to what you’re doing in the game which is generally trying to do silly stuff.
One thing that I loved about this was playing it with my daughter. It was the first game she’s ever played, and I’ve been trying to find a lead-in to get her interested. It was fairly easy, she’s a toddler, so what I did was zoom up really close to the goat’s butt and said, “there’s a goat’s butt.” She giggled and said, “me?” I handed her the controller and she started to cautiously move Pilgor around. After a while, she kind of got the controls and was able to walk around the game. She’s a stickler for the rules, so when she saw a car coming and Pilgor was on the road, she told him to “get off the road” and then moved her onto the footpath. She really enjoyed playing and wanted to play again later, so Goat Simulator may have been a way to start playing more games with her. Exciting!
Overall, I generally enjoyed playing Goat Simulator 3, but it didn’t meet my expectations, especially since the first one was such a great and fun game. I didn’t get to play multiplayer, which looks like a lot of fun and the game was probably designed around it. This is probably why single player seemed lacking for me.