Your favourite Goat Simulator is back this time with a three in the title, and it is all about having fun but this time, with the herd. Join the action solo or jump in with up to 3 buddies in both couch co-op and online.
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Also available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Developer: Coffee Stain North
Creative Director: Santiago Ferrero
Designers: Driton Gashi, Sebastian Eriksson
The Goats have returned its time for chaos and fun; leaping past number two, all hooves have landed with the number three. We start Goat Simulator 3 with a homage to “Skyrim” the opening scene has the player awaken in a cart behind a tractor while the farmer announces the ever-familiar, “you’re finally awake”. The player’s eyes open to gander at the other three goats sitting in the cart, tongues lolling from their mouths while bleating and being delivered to a farm. An amusing opening and one of the many tributes in this world honouring and mocking various games. Soon the cart arrives at its intended destination, and the farmer opens the rear gate and allows us to leap from the cart, signalling that our adventure has begun. Now the goat is fully in the player’s control; my first tutorial steps involved walking, bleating, licking and headbutting. I was then allowed to venture forward and take on the world. Approaching the rear of the yard, I found a goat tower, and these towers act similarly to those in Assassin’s Creed; synchronising with the tower sets the camera spinning while revealing a portion of the map. As well as opening the map also grants the goat access to the goat’s lair, found by entering the portal on the goat tower. Through the portal, the player gains access to the goat church, which plays an important role in the game.
The goals in Goat Simulator 3 are like its predecessor. That goal is mainly to create chaos and have fun. As a fan of the original, I took it as my mission to find as many weird secrets and open as much of the map as possible. This plan was fast derailed by finding a granny with a yarn ball launcher that, upon approaching, unlocked a mission to defeat her and the many clones of her. Eventually, ending up on a map reminiscent of the original Wolfenstein, but instead of defeating Nazis and Hitler cyborgs, the aim was to defeat grannies in their rockers who were launching yarn at my goat. Not an easy task, but upon defeating the last of them, I unlocked a yarn launcher granny to mount on my back. This is how my gameplay would continue most of the way through the game. Opening the map allowed me to mark objectives, and I would proceed towards them, often finding one or two dozen other things to distract me from my task, and I couldn’t have enjoyed those distractions more.
The gameplay of Goat Simulator 3 is aimed at groups with the option of couch co-op, adding great additional ways to enjoy with friends and being easy enough to enjoy on your own. I, unfortunately, had no friends with the game online to trail it out with, I was able to test two-player couch co-op with one of my housemates, and it was chaos doubled. One of the many fun things to do in a group is mini-games. These take many forms, from soccer, king of the hill, and the floor is lava. The competition on these gets fierce, as do the underhanded tactics taken to win. These game modes are only available with two or more players, so having a friend is necessary to enjoy it and enjoy it we did.
The game doesn’t have a story; the introduction is about as many story elements as we, as players, get or need. Some missions have throughlines that play out in the world. There is nothing of merit in an overarching story. The game’s missions take many forms, from creating human banana hybrids and freeing them into the world or destroying the ice around an alien spaceship, allowing the player to steal another gun that causes objects in the world to be coated in green slime. Head to a haunted house and free the ghosts, then round the ghosts up and force them to work. The amount of side quests and missions to complete is insane. While accomplishing these tasks, you earn credits, which can be spent at the shop. The shop front contains a great variety of items, skins, hats, horns, and different “goats” like the long goat, which some might call a giraffe or a water goat, some might see as a fish or a shark on a skateboard. These unique goats have their uses, but more often, it’s just amusing to roll through the city as a shark on a skateboard while sporting a fireworks launcher on your back.
The game’s graphics are also pretty basic, visual and performance modes are available, but the performance was my go-to as the game runs a smooth 60fps while the visual mode looked no different overall. The game’s physics is fun to play with; little things like setting yourself on fire allowed you to run about and set anything flammable you touched alight, such as people, trees, other goats, and cars, while running into the water would extinguish the goat with a satisfying hiss. The game’s audio is as interesting, hearing the world around you feel alive, hearing people having odd conversations, screaming, or just listening to birds and cars. Each area has its type of sounds, from forests, cities, and parks, to zoos. All have unique sounds scapes which came as a pleasant surprise.
Goat Simulator 3 is a fun and chaotic game. It could be better, which sometimes adds to the fun, but through my review, I did run into some issues. One issue was the laggy and rubber banding when playing with another person in the couch co-op setting. Nothing too wrong, but it was a tad annoying. It would be worse the more players were added. Another issue is that there is no searching for open games, if you want to play with others, you have to drop to the menu and activate the online, then search your friend list to find a buddy to play with, for people such as myself this made it hard to find people to play with online and stopped me from experiencing the online experience. While disappointing, it wasn’t game-breaking. There were just a few pop-ins and times I fell through the world, generally when messing with rocket boots or jet packs.
Overall, Goat Simulator 3 is a game aimed at chaos and fun, while not perfect, it hits those beats often. Much like its predecessor, there is a lot to discover that needs to be added to the mini-map, while the missions are fun, and there is always more to do. The game does have its downsides and could use some additional work to fix those. In saying this, I enjoyed my time with this game, and I will recommend it to my friend group for games night. The team at Coffee Stain North have done some great work creating a game that is silly fun, and I mean that in the best way possible. They can poke fun at themselves and others and drop in a heap of pop culture references. I have enjoyed this game and will be popping back to it periodically when I need a pick-me-up.