Despite its title, this game does not simulate the life and interests of the typical European goat. It is also not actually the third in a series; it’s the second, following 2014’s Goat Simulator. Chalk the numerological skip up to developer Coffee Stain Studios’ frivolous tone: Goat Simulator 3 is absolutely loaded with bizarre non sequiturs, blissfully stupid gags, and wild cartoon violence. This is the silliest (or stupidest) game of the year, and its low-stakes chaos has a way of winning you over.
Embodying an indestructible, physics-defying goat, you run across the map at supersonic speeds, crashing through obstacles with a headbutt, all while dragging anything you want alongside your furry little legs with the elastic grip of your tongue. (This can include chairs, explosives, and unlucky human beings.) The joy is found in pushing the goofy, hallucinogenic physics system to its absolute breaking point. Your goat can bounce off a trampoline into low orbit, or smash oncoming traffic towards the distant horizon. The most interesting difference from 2014’s Goat Simulator, aside from the larger arena of chaos, is that you can now do all of this in multiplayer.
An honest-to-god story mode – a ridiculous presence in an already ridiculous game – throws our anarchic goat into some truly baffling situations. The map is littered with absurd quests requiring esoteric puzzle solving: in one of them, my goat found itself running for president, and I needed to literally drag potential voters to the polls. An hour later, I was swallowed up by an ocean leviathan, and could only escape by ramming against its uvula. There is no shortage of the deranged in Goat Simulator 3. You will never find a moment where it takes itself too seriously.
Of course, all of that chaos leaves the game vulnerable to some seismic bugs. It is no shock that the first option on the pause menu is an automatic respawn, because it is quite easy to banjax yourself. (Once, I fell through the bottom of the world and into a strange, psychedelic nether-realm.) Perhaps this is part of the deal, in a game this manic. Goat Simulator 3 has no aspirations beyond what it is: a dishevelled yet appealing bender of self-destructive looniness.