With so many simulator experiences out there, Goat Simulator still managed to make quite a few waves with its debut a few years ago. Taking the simulation gimmick to a absurd new level, it instead offered players a sandbox where they were encouraged to wreak as much havoc as possible. But while it had a fun core idea, it was pretty rough around the edges so the idea of a follow up to the title was quite exciting as there was all sorts of potential directions a sequel could go. Funny enough, while all of us were looking away, Goat Simulator went straight to its “third” entry.
Goat Simulator 3 follows up the core idea of the original and explodes into a whole new realm of chaos. It’s such a chaotic entry that a simple “2” following it up really wasn’t enough. Sneakily, however, is that while the title of Goat Simulator 3 is a tongue in cheek kind of joke for this franchise, the game itself feels like a much wider sequel fitting of that moniker. There’s lots more to do, lots more to mess around with, and more chaos packed in than ever before.
Following a cheeky parody intro that eases players into the sandbox world, Goat Simulator 3 then lets you run wild with whatever you really want to do from there. There are a few Goat Castle points to synchronize with throughout the map that opens up to show where the real points of interest are, and from there it’s really up to the player to decide what to do next. While you can cause as much chaos as you can by pretty much climbing, jumping, licking and dragging, and hijacking whatever you want, there are certain quests that you can fulfill to earn Karma points.
These range from simple such as adding ingredients to a cooking pot, to a little more difficult such as fighting a group of robot moms shooting lasers at you, to tedious such as finding 40 boxes and sticking them in a garage. But there’s an impact from each one that remains on the world itself. For example, launching a bomb and setting it off will destroy a neighborhood completely (and tinges the screen brown every time you’re in the area) for the rest of the game.
Completing these events will net you Karma points that will not only help you buy wardrobe pieces your goat (which range from simply cosmetic to giving you the ability to send humans flying upwards to heaven), but further your overall Illuminati Rank. Each increase in overall Illuminati Rank improves your Goat Castle base and expands it in some fun ways. That’s the driving engine behind it all. Finding creative ways to fulfill all of the tasks along with secret side missions to the best of your ability.
It’s full of fun little detours along the way as well with pop culture references throughout (some of them funnier than others, unfortunately), and fun secret side games to jump into by chance. Goat Simulator 3 really emphasizes experimentation above all else as its physics really make everything as loose and as bouncy as possible. Your standard goat can pretty jump climb onto any kind of surface, and then eventually your earn enough to get the real game breaking ones.
Sometimes it is quite literal, however, as the combination I used in particular (Death-Ray-Bans, Channitatium Shield, and Rocket Boots) gave me the ability to travel across the map so quickly I’d tear right through it. But instead of being a detractor, it all works in the realm of chaos that Goat Simulator 3 has presented us with. It’s like it was a fun shortcut across points of the map and I’d come out fine on the other side. The only real hiccups happened when it would need to quickly readjust and get my goat back on its feet.
Ragdolling is built into traversing the world itself too. One of the funnest ways I figured out how to move faster was launching myself into the air, only for the Channitatium Shield to bounce off of me upon its return. It would then launch me further and faster in the opposite direction. There’s a lot of fun in figuring out how to control the chaos, and while it’s not a technical marvel, it was pretty marvelous to see how well it was able to keep itself together despite me trying my best to break it.
There’s a sense throughout that Goat Simulator 3 wants players to feel like gods. Your goat doesn’t take any real damage, you can drag whatever you want for as long you want, and there are no real repercussions to doing so. It might take the “stakes” out of playing, but if you want a sandbox that not only encourages but rewards breaking it, there’s no better experience. Especially when you can tag in your friends to multiply that chaos even more so.
It’s not a deep or wide as some might want, as some of the missions (and gags) do wear thin, but it’s still fun queuing up and just messing around in it. There’s a sense that there are even more wild combinations to assert your power (or jump around as a shark on a skateboard), and the ability to even do that and scratch that itch in such a way is definitely worth checking out.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Goat Simulator 3 is now available on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC platforms. A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review, and was reviewed on PlayStation 5.