I love goats.
For some reason the combination of their trendy little beards, serial killer eyes and cool pointy horns makes them ever so endearing to me. They’re also ever vilified, being typically associated with the devil and historically blamed for all sorts of ill-fortune, which makes me like them even more. I mean, everyone likes an underdog, right? Even if their head does resemble an inverted pentagram.
Initially released last year on PC before making its way to consoles in 2015, Goat Simulator did little to dampen my enthusiasm for the misunderstood beasts, despite the game being more than a little janky and portraying our horned friends as little more than vindictive mischievous bastards. It had you ruining people’s day out at the seaside, putting an end to a boy racer’s fun with a giant boulder, and even sacrificing innocent townsfolk for the mighty Satan, but throughout all this it remained chaotic fun.
Well, it seems you can’t keep a good goat down, as now you can get up to even more troublesome behaviour in Goat Simulator: Mmore GoatZ Edition, just released for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Featuring the MMO and GoatZ expansions for Goat Simulator in one package, you get two distinctive experiences for the price of one, and both offer a more structured and enjoyable adventure than the original title as well as improved audio and visuals (although they’re still not particularly good).
The MMO expansion is a satirical look at the RPG genre, with you able to select a class of goat at the outset before throwing you into a world you can explore to your heart’s content, completing quests as you go. From defeating gold farming robots to escorting the slowest man in the world to a local tavern, you’ll be tasked with completing a wide range of objectives in what is admittedly a rather pointless adventure, and whilst some of them do grate, they are mostly strangely enjoyable. As a Diablo fan I particularly enjoyed the quest that saw me travelling to “Twistram”, complete with music that felt rather familiar and a not-so-secret cow level.
Pretty much everything you do in the virtual MMO world provided earns you experience points, although completing missions is where you’ll really rack them up. Whether you’ve licked, kicked or rammed an object or enemy, or successfully completed a quest, your experience earned fills a bar until it rewards you with a rather anticlimactic level-up. Unlike levelling up in most games, where you’d gain a skill point or a boost to your stats, here, you get nothing, except maybe a new mutator to apply to your goat in order to change their appearance or abilities from time to time. In all honesty though, it just doesn’t matter. There’s no need to build up your goat’s stats – the levelling system is merely there to take the mickey out of such character development systems and is really nothing more than a persistent measure of your score.
On the whole, the MMO expansion offers gameplay that will be familiar to anyone that has played the original Goat Simulator – it’s pretty much a continuation of its open world objective-based gameplay but given more context. For a nice change though, it sees you helping people more than maiming or annoying them. The GoatZ expansion however, is quite a departure, and offers you survival based gameplay that provides a very different experience.
Tasked with causing a zombie outbreak and then surviving it, GoatZ apes the increasingly popular survival genre in its own silly style. Before you cause a zombie outbreak you can wander around as a decaying zombie goat and get up to the things that you do in the original Goat Simulator, namely being a nuisance. With one press of a button however, you can emit a gas that turns nearby humans into zombies, and once you’ve made a small number of the undead the game will change rather drastically.
With the aim to stay alive for as long as possible, you’ll have to maintain your goat’s hunger and health levels if you want to remain undead rather than just dead, which means you’ll have to scavenge food and health pickups where necessary as well as fend off zombies when they are encountered. Whilst you can use your usual attacks to dispatch zombies – a swift kick or ram is always an effective attack – you can also craft a great deal of humorous and effective weapons by dragging items to designated workshop points. All in all, the GoatZ expansion is a nice deviation from the usual Goat Simulator gameplay and also offers a pretty decent challenge thanks to the fact that you can actually die.
Whilst Goat Simulator: Mmore GoatZ Edition suffers from the same downfalls as the original Goat Simulator – it’s unquestionably glitchy and at times an assault on the eyes and ears – it still remains a great deal of maniacal fun, especially when played in local co-op. Offering you multiple open maps where you can explore and get up to mischief as you see fit, you can lose hours to your goatly exploits simply trying to complete quests or objectives. Goat Simulator: Mmore GoatZ Edition proves that you don’t always need an absorbing story or deep gameplay mechanics to make a good game; you just need to enable the player to have fun.