Goat Simulator 3 Review: An Even Better Fever Dream Than The First

  • Map is leagues larger than OG Goat Simulator
  • New co-op features add lasting interest
  • Beloved features from the first game prevail
  • Tons of collectibles and easter eggs
  • DLC with new skins and more cosmetics already available
  • We shouldn't lick trucks and headbutt people in real life
  • Can get tiresome after hours of nonstop gameplay

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There are countless things in the world designed for people who thrive on chaos — those who show up, but they do so careening sideways, those who always choose the unexpected and the weird if only for the sake of a laugh. Non-clothing items made of denim, snooze buttons, that Jelly Bean game where rancid-flavored candies are mixed in with normal ones, unicycles ... there's no way you can deny that these things, while wildly different from one another, fall under the same theme: unhinged. Above these examples — plus any others — there is one thing that we'd put at the throne of this category: the realm of the "Goat Simulator" games. In this territory, that steel-bucket-wearing, backwards-Croc-clad, elastic-tongued farm animal reigns chaos king.

The "Goat Sim" franchise was created — or, rather, stumbled out of whatever strange crack in the universe that it emerged from — back in 2014 by Swedish studio Coffee Stain Studios. We should have known the ride we were in for with this game series when its release date was April Fools Day. While there's no claim from authoritative sources that Coffee Stain was acting cheekily in picking the launch day, the entire franchise began as sort of a joke, an ironic expansion on a game jam. Another series installment and almost a decade later, there are still enough players interested in emulating a goat that licks passersby and hijacks cement mixers to keep the "Goat Sim" universe going strong.

Developers choose chaos from title to gameplay

"Goat Simulator 3" was released to the public back on November 17. And no, you didn't miss the second installment in the franchise sometime between 2014 and now. And DLC and the mobile versions of the game don't count. 

According to Coffee Stain creative director Santiago Ferrero (via Dot Esports), half of the development team wanted to maintain the "Goat Sim" antics by naming the next game "Goat Simulator 4." The other half, perhaps the left hemisphere of the Coffee Stain brain, preferred to stick with "Goat Simulator 2." The resulting compromise — duh — was to name the second game "Goat Simulator 3." 

Fundamental controls in the second game are still the same: You're a goat. You have more tongue than your little goat body is anatomically capable of storing — and that tongue comically lolls about your dumb goat mouth the entire time. You use vehicles, jetpacks, and your tongue (y'know, standard transportation devices) to explore a sprawling sandbox island, uncovering mini-quests and challenges as you go. 

But the foundation was significantly expanded upon for the 2022 "Goat Simulator." We notably see the introduction of four-player co-op mode, where you can play as a gang of goats competing against one another in one of the many PvP mini-games that crop up across the map. According to Coffee Stain CEO Sebastian Eriksson, the open-world map of the second installment is 18 times larger than the first game (via Press Start). Further, the Goat Castle is moved from its spot as a peripheral secret location in the first Sim's map to a central spot important for progression through the story mode and the goat Illuminati. 

You can't hate the glitches

If I teleported into a wall, saw hideously misshapen NPCs, suddenly morphed into a translucent half-baked version of myself, or encountered any of the other glitches and clips that I did with "Goat Simulator 3" in any other game, I would have stopped playing. But with this game, I just don't think you can chalk the glitches up as the tears in a universe's fabric that are consequential of a poorly-developed game. It just seems like part of this franchise's comedy schtick.

Having more bugs than a Florida swamp in July preserves the open-world-ness of the game; the very scant presence of "you can't go there," "you can't climb on that," "you can't pick that up" in a game's schema is part of what makes a great sandbox title so great. In "Goat Sim," you truly can go anywhere and do anything, even if it's to your own detriment. Sure, it often leads to being short-circuited to the point of your back legs disappearing and your front half stuck in a tree, but in a world where goats use rocket launchers and wear clown suits that's probably just another Tuesday.

Aimless endless madness in short doses

In very short terms, "Goat Sim" is not a hard game. The first one wasn't, this one isn't, and a test of skill never seems to have been the goal of the franchise. Performative try-hards need not inquire, but the goofiness of this game's mechanics and design are bound to leave casual players in stitches, I think. Never having been one to pop a blood vessel at a video game myself — even the most stressful scenarios haven't elicited more than a huffy, normal-volumed "aw man, come on" — the challenges, defined as such very liberally, in "Goat Sim" were mellow and amusing. Your order of gameplay will vastly change the environment of those challenges, though, and you'll never know there is regret in completing one quest before the other until it's too late.

To give an example, one of the quests on the island tasks you with gathering up a bunch of nearby pink-colored moving boxes and returning them to a garage. Sounds easy, and borderline boring, but if you so happen to stumble across a stage of performing ballerinas first, your quest there will prompt you to head-butt the dancers and "help" them spin faster. 

What could go wrong? I completed the ballerina quest first — and those poor, unsuspecting ballerinas were knocked into a tornado-inducing pirouette. That tornado remains on the map, and every time it passes near the house with the moving quest, a handful of boxes are flung in the air and sprinkled back around the map.

And, yes, if your goat gets too close, it'll be ejected skyward, too, as my airborne natural disaster victim locked in a death spiral here can attest.

If you play "Goat Simulator 3" for hours at a time, the game can start to feel a bit aimless. There are the quests and the overall goal of achieving the "New Goat Order," but I did not feel a strong gravity to the main narrative, and it only took a few dozen times of me knocking the daylights out of an old lady blasting me with her bazooka to get bored of that. But this level of idiotic weirdness is delightfully amusing in small doses. That's why this game is the perfect option to have on hand when you're feeling burnt out from other, more demanding titles.

Multiplayer GOAT

If you've never played "Goat Simulator 3" before, I think you should get the game. If you played the old version and want to try the new multiplayer features in this new version, I think you should get the game. In fact, I think the new multiplayer features are the primary reason anyone should buy the second sim. The fact that "you know what's better than one frog-tongued goat that craves violence? Four frog-tongued goats that crave violence" wasn't a priority in the first "Goat Sim" still astounds me. 

I haven't laughed this hard at a co-op since the "Portal" series emerged. Adding in a few cohorts to your mischief is probably the only way to spice up the game after you've been playing it for a while, even if you get the Digital Downgrade DLC and any future expansions that mostly only add on to your goat's aesthetics — new skins and such. Perhaps there will be more minigames for PvP in the future, although I don't think I will get tired of playing King of the Hill with a troupe of unhinged goats anytime soon.


I think "Goat Sim" probably runs a relatively shorter, albeit meteoric, arc through most people's lines of interest. It was after around eight hours of gameplay — after the map had been thoroughly combed for hidden gems and quests — that the "meh" bug started to whisper in my ear. Because after a while, there's a lot of been there, done that, unless you are super into the collectible cosmetic and trinket features.

But again, get "Goat Sim" and keep it in your back pocket for when you need to chill or laugh. If you're still running the OG sim and don't have any interest in multiplayer, I think you would still feel a reinvigorated interest in the game through the new one with all the map expansion.

The fictional island of San Angora is full of intrigue and Easter eggs, the chaos ranges from dancing banana men to voter fraud and the nation's first farm animal president to nuclear warfare to ... whatever that is in the above screenshot, and the hilariously bad graphics are a contrast to the well-done physics.

There is just enough mission-driven content to string you along, but for the most part, you're let loose with the opportunity to turn the world upside down one headbutt at a time. If you're on the fence about the game, in the words of our dear friend Pilgor the goat, just bleatin' do it.

You can purchase this game on Amazon in its physical form or in the respective digital game stores for Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. You can also purchase this game on the Epic Games Store for your desktop PC.