Goat Game

by Kathryn Li

2021

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Beautifully illustrated game about a goat considering a career change, October 12, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is a Twine game which can be completed relatively quickly (around 30 minutes, much faster if clicking fast). It has 15 different endings depending on 3 different statistics that change throughout the game.

You play as a goat who works at a laboratory doing research on a mysterious substance. There is an accident, and you have to decide how you feel about work and what you want to do with your life.

I played through to all 15 endings, though the text of the middle game doesn't change much from playthrough to playthrough (there are about 2-3 variations for each section, so you'll see them all multiple times by the end).

The art is really lovely, it was the high point of the game for me.

Where Goat Game succeeds the most, to me, is in making a high-quality, smooth and bug free experience for the player where they can get absorbed into a story about an alternate world.

Where Goat Game falls short, to me, is in agency and plotting. The player character never really acts; everything is a reaction, except the final choice. Questions are all about how we feel, or how we respond to the actions of others. I would have wanted more chances to act independently of others.

Plotwise, there are many Checkhov's guns that never fire. There is a lot of worldbuilding here that just never goes anywhere. Like another reviewer said, the fact that these are goats is essentially immaterial; you could change a few details in the game and it would be the same. Similarly, you could change the dangerous magical substance to any kind of workplace safety issue and get the same feeling.

Finding all endings can be tough. I stalled out after 8, and ended up looking at the source for tips. The system is actually really clean and nice; if you want to see all endings and are really stuck, here is a complete breakdown (major spoilers:)(Spoiler - click to show) there are only 3 real choices in the midgame, each one raising one of the 3 main stats. The choices are the 'i like working/living/don't like living here', 'don't acquire secrets/sign petition/don't sign petition', and 'defend/criticize/decline'. Your final stats fall into one of 7 categories: tied stats, a value of 3 in a single stat, and any combination of 2 stats>0 and 1 stat=0. Each of these 7 cases has 2 endings depending on whether you leave or stay.