Our hands-on demo with the ludicrously silly sandbox Goat Simulator 3 still feels like a Kölsch-fuelled fever dream. Did one of the game’s developers really punt us from the top of a haystack? Is there really a neon-lit crossfit gym tucked away in a church? Should a goat really be driving a sports car over a busy paveme- oh god, it shouldn’t.
Unfortunately for the small town our goatagonist has been set loose in, Goat Simulator 3 relishes in providing constant chaos. Atop one of the town’s Ubisoft-style viewpoints, every locale in sight promises new opportunities to ruin someone’s day, whether that involves taking a tractor for a joy-ride or poking fun at Call Of Duty by touring a graveyard and pressing F to pay respects and dabbling in necromancy.
However, Goat Simulator 3 packs a surprising amount of consistency beneath its gimmicky facade. At any point in your travels, you can invite friends over to compete in minigames that range from a Rocket League-style kickabout (with goats instead of cars, of course) to a king of the hill trial where victory is measured in the amount of crowns you can stack on your head. The most interesting side to these minigames is that they can be hosted anywhere – for example, our spontaneous footie match took place in the middle of a busy junction. Being able to play these games anywhere adds an extra level of replayability to a set of minigames that are already compelling in their simplicity, and they benefit greatly from being tied to the delightful unpredictability of Goat Simulator‘s sandbox.
These minigames also hammer home the importance of playing Goat Simulator 3 with pals. For as many gags that Coffee Stain has to offer, they’re a bit diminished if you’re discovering them yourself. The game’s engine is inherently unpredictable, which means coming within two feet of an NPC and grabbing them with your tongue promises a physics-defying laugh.
There’s also a thrill in breaking the game that demands an audience to appreciate. Throughout Goat Simulator 3, there’s a plethora of upgrades to unlock for your goat and some of them aren’t designed to be balanced. An endlessly-sprouting beansprout can be used to send your goat soaring miles above the skybox for a peak behind the curtain, while there’s very few problems that can’t be solved with a goat-mounted firework launcher. Beyond finding new ways to cause havoc, there’s also plenty of weird cosmetics to don and gimmicky vehicles to drive around town. In multiplayer, the result is a vibe of constant laugh-chasing, a reverse-Jenga where players try and top someone’s latest antics with something that’s even more over-the-top and destroys even more of the surrounding area.
Goat Simulator may have debuted to ridicule, but Goat Simulator 3…well, it’s still ridiculous. But as a sequel that aims to bring 2014’s zaniest title into the modern day – with eight years-worth of new material to make fun of – that ridiculousness is exactly what you want.