It’s a wonderful day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you are a horrible old goat. Not just that – you have an uncanny vendetta against this bright, shiny world – and you’re going to take it out on anyone and everyone who crosses your path. This is the world of Goat Simulator 3 – a game that celebrates the wild and uncanny wrath of goats, in all its glory.
Played as a solo or multiplayer experience, Goat Simulator 3 prioritises freedom over anything else. What that translates to is a game where you can pull off a ridiculous array of stunts, even though you are (or perhaps because you are) saddled with an unwieldy and physics-defying goat body. This isn’t just any goat you embody – it can unleash powerful ramming attacks, drive a car, triple-jump and somersault across great distances, grind power lines, lick anything, set things on fire… whatever you like. The world is your oyster. You are its terrible god.
And your powers don’t stop there. As you travel the world of Goat Simulator 3, following a loose plot that emulates Skyrim, you’ll encounter an array of quests and environmental puzzles. Some are simple – do a flip, head-butt a building. Others require a great deal of thought, care, and hunting through a sandbox world – collect 40 boxes and store them in a garage, unleash dynamite on a rude fisherman, water some tomatoes.
There’s a solution for every puzzle – and it’s your job to romp through them, gaining new powers in the process.
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It’s not necessary to complete these quests necessarily, but doing so will unlock a new range of chaos-inducing tools. Get revenge on the fisherman, and you’ll wind up with the ability to shoot fish at unsuspecting citizens. Romp through a farm, and you might find a high-powered rocket blaster.
It’s the perfect stress release after a long day; a chaotic salve for the chaos of real life. In diving into the balls-to-the-wall ridiculousness of Goat Simulator 3, it’s easy to massage away your problems and simply be in this outrageous world.
Goat Simulator 3 tickled my senses in the same way that House House’s Untitled Goose Game did. It’s not as prescriptive as the goose’s adventure (you can tackle quests in any order, or none at all), but it features a very similar premise: you are extremely rude, in a world where rudeness is unacceptable. Have fun.
In bite-sized snippets, I’ve jumped into the game’s sandbox world and found myself enjoying even the ambience of its terror-plagued town. Walk down the street in Goat Simulator 3, and the town’s citizens will grimace in your direction, terrified of the power you wield. If you enter a fenced-in area, townsfolk will attempt to shoo you off. But in this game, you have the ultimate power.
You are a semi-divine being, buoyed by the strange tools and magics at your disposal. (You even have a wizard’s tower as a base, where chaos unlocks new secrets.)
If you’re approached in a rude manner, or if a lowly neighbour attempts to move you on, there’s a simple answer – or several complex ones. Headbutts are easy. You can even grab them with your prehensile tongue, and throw them into the lake. You could set them on fire, if you like. Or fire those aforementioned rockets. You could even hijack a car and run them over.
It’s fine, they’ll be okay – there are no real blood or guts in Goat Simulator 3. Just like there are no consequences. Only pure, unfiltered mayhem and a world at the mercy of your whims.
But beyond the chaos, there’s also a real sense of calm in this. Away from disasters of your own doing, there are moments of pure bliss – when you’re frolicking in a nearby field, wandering down a lonely highway, or just bleating at unsuspecting townsfolk. The world of the game is beautiful, even at a goat’s eye level, and there are plenty of ways to invest your time.
There are high mountains to trek up, forest springs to find, everglades filled with bountiful grass, whole farmsteads, idyllic dams, and even day spa retreats. Knowing you could cause chaos at the touch of a button makes the experience all the more empowering. Choose to refrain, and you’ll find strange moments of peace in the absurdity.
Singular, perfect moments where the sun is shining, the birds are singing – and that’s alright. Everything is going to be alright. And then you’ll lick somebody, or kick them, or headbutt them – and the chaos cycle will start over.
There are boundless ways to play Goat Simulator 3.
Even without demanding quests, there’s always something new to discover, and an impetus to romp forward, horns at the ready. As a sandbox experience, terror is at your fingertips. On one hand, you wield the keys to a peaceful and loving kingdom. In the other lies a high-chaos realm filled with flung bodies and rockets.
The choice of expression is yours – and that’s what makes Goat Simulator 3 such a satisfying and transportive experience. Really, it’s the ultimate absurdist power trip – and that’s grand.
Goat Simulator 3 launches for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PC on 17 November 2022.