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Goat Simulator 3: Multiverse of Nonsense hands-on preview - plenty of goats, some chaos, and a giant capybara

The surprisingly large DLC offers plenty more wacky hijinks, even if some gags might land better than others.

A goat, a capybara, and a human in Goat Simulator 3's DLC.
Image credit: Coffee Stain

The first thing I did when I jumped into Goat Simulator 3’s big new expansion for the first time during a preview session was get flung up into the stratosphere.

I hadn’t planned to do that, but it happened, and I ran with it in the only way I could fathom. I tried to land right atop the head/snout of the giant talking capybara that lords over the pretty huge new map. Unfortunately, whether due to a lack of velocity or an invisible wall, I didn’t quite make it.

After I’d dredged my Pilgor out of the sea, I was able to head into the three distinct areas that make up the capybara’s domain. There’s Goat City, an slightly retro-styled urban environment where the big twist is that goats and humans have had their stations in life reversed Planet of the Apes style. There’s Toontown, filled - as you’d expect - with cartoony architecture and NPCs that look like they’ve auditioned to play Goofy and gotten rejected. Then, there’s Mount Olympus, which is basically Goat Sim Ancient Greece, complete with togas, mythical figures, and at least one statue you can gravely injure by headbutting in the heel.

If you bounce along the purple stone helping glue together their ramshackle borders, you’ll see that they’ve been designed to look like they’ve slammed together by the kind of multiverse tearing and re-assembling that only a goat could inflict, something which sort of reflects how the DLC was stitched together creatively by the folks at Coffee Stain. “I think we just went crazy with what was possible,” senior sound designer and composer Stuart Docherty tells me, “[which] also explains why it took us one and a half years to make.”

“When you have infinite possibilities,” he added later in our playing session, when we discussed the lessons the developers might draw from creating the DLC, “it’s maybe hard to restrain yourself, which is how you get a big load of content like this, where we just kept thinking of fun ideas that we had to do.” While it might have resulted in Multiverse of Nonsense taking a bit longer than intended, from what I’ve played of the DLC so far, you can really feel the ‘oh, and we could also do THIS’ design philosophy in a positive manner.

Goat battling the iguana hydra in Goat Simulator 3's DLC.
Forget Malenia, this is a properly terrifying boss battle. | Image credit: Coffee Stain

As with the base game, the core loop is simply exploring the map - either solo or with a gang of up to three mates - and finding events to get involved in. There’s the grass-mowing version of whack-a-mole, the goat version of a Trojan horse to drag up a hill, and some gnomes to exterminate - with the latter’s high pitched Swedish chatter having been provided by one of the game’s character artists. When it came to outdoing the base game’s brand of nonsense for a DLC expressly pitched as such, Docherty tells me that the developers weren’t phased. “Surprisingly, it was almost trivial,” he says, “I think we’ve been holding back for the base game, to be honest.”

Tying together all of the nonsense you’ll be getting involved in as you earn new items by making the new areas a bit less normal is the DLC’s plot, which sees Pilgor tasked with gradually upping this brave new world’s instability gauge by getting up to hijinks and retrieving four special stones to add to the god-capybara’s tiara. Yep, you’re basically helping out the rodent version of Thanos assemble a not-infinity gauntlet, by building up the energy required to open up the multiverse rifts - big portals to decently sized areas outside of the map, each with their own unique series of tasks - where each stone is kept.

The first of these rifts takes you to an area that’s a crossover between Goat Sim and Deep Rock Galactic, which aims to parody the grind that levelling up entails in a lot of games nowadays by making you headbutt and gather enough gems to earn a motorised mining paddle. According to Docherty, the team at Ghost Ship Games were “thankfully very happy” when they learned that their game would be getting a shout-out in Goat Sim, with the two studios having worked together to weave some of the actual assets and sounds used in Deep Rock into this rift event.

One of the characters from Toontown in Goat Simulator 3's DLC.
The non-union, royalty-free equivalents of Daffy and Donald Duck will haunt your dreams. | Image credit: Coffee Stain

I must admit, while it’s always nice to see different teams under the same umbrella working together like this in a way that feels just natural enough not to come off just as the kind of straight-up promo that might compromise Goat Sim’s generally silly and un-corporate vibes, I can’t help but feel it might have been better to make that first rift something a bit more wacky that’d have been a bit more of a memorable, ‘I wasn’t expecting that’ note on which to really kick the DLC into gear.

I did like the touch that each time you finish a rift, some of the stuff from it leaks through into the DLC map, giving you even more of a sense that you are actually making the space more chaotic as you go. There are also new little touches like the characters who oversee events having proper scrollable dialogue bubbles that are used to dispense some more lore and jokes. Overall, it’s a package that you can tell has morphed quite well from the original lovably janky game jam project that found overnight success and had to grow exponentially from there - which, as Docherty tells me, was often very difficult to add even the likes of new gear to due to the way it was built - into a fully-fledged game that’s now getting the first bit of DLC which really takes advantage of the work put in to make the sequel easier to build on and add to.

While I’m not sure from what I’ve played that the Multiverse of Nonsense will convert any of the folks who’ve either bounced off of the base game or saw it as just a joke that wasn’t worth their time, it seems to do what all good DLCs do - offer you plenty more of the kind of thing you enjoyed the first time around, with enough twists to make things feel fresh. Like in the base game, which of the jokes, activities, and references you vibe the most with will change from person to person.

The giant sky capybara hovering over Mount Olympus in Goat Simulator 3's DLC.
All hail the mighty meme rodent. | Image credit: Coffee Stain

It’s the same kind of endearing madcap mashmash of ideas that the series has become known for, this time with an unlockable capybara skin that fans have requested en-masse. I’m very sure it’ll make for a nice weekend or few weeks of Goat Sim fun for those of us who love that kind of thing and it leaves me keen to see whether the developers will manage to keep on pushing the boat out nonsense-wise in the future now that Goat Sim’s evolved into something a bit less chaotic under the hood.

Hopefully, their efforts to keep running with the goat-shaped ball will be a lot more successful than my ill-fated attempt to make Pilgor into an impromptu replacement for that giant capybara’s tiara. Or, as Docherty alluded to when I asked him if he felt they’d be betrayed goatkind by adding in a capybara, maybe they’ve got no choice in the matter, and it’s up to bouts of inspiration from whichever rodent runs the universe games exist in while being developed to keep on finding them.

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