Sidescrollers: Strange video games, like ‘Goat Simulator’ and ‘Monument Valley’

"Goat Simulator" is more or less exactly what it sounds like. Credit: Coffee Stain Studios
“Goat Simulator” is more or less exactly what it sounds like.
Credit: Coffee Stain Studios

Some games are easy to put a bow on and call it a day. First person shooters, RPGs and stealth titles all fall in that category. Other games, however, more resemble a Las Vegas mescaline bender. Here are reviews of some weirdo gems.

‘Goat Simulator’
Coffee Stain Studios
4 globes

Throughout the history of video games, there has been one glaring omission: the inability to simulate life as a gravity-defying goat. Don’t worry! That egregious error has finally been fixed. Here is “Goat Simulator,” and it is a glorious exercise in utter ridiculousness.

In this game — surprise! — you control a goat. What’s the point? To run around and knock stuff over, mostly. On paper, this sounds slightly repetitive and dull. In practice, however, it is more fun than controlling a virtual goat has any right to be. The world is open, the physics are utterly ridiculous, and the goat is pissed. You haven’t lived until you’ve exploded a car with an errant apple.

‘Monument Valley’
5 globes

Now that you’ve successfully destroyed a small town as a goat, it’s time to finally embody an M.C. Escher drawing. This bizarre and beautiful title has you solving puzzles amid a constantly changing 2-D/3-D space. It owes thanks to similar titles that explored the intersection of dimensions, like “Fez” and “Super Paper Mario,” but it is more than the sum of its influences.

First off, “Monument Valley” is beautiful and captures a painting-like aesthetic not seen often in gaming. The gameplay reminds this jaded player of a touchscreen-enabled “Zelda” dungeon. In other words, the world is chock full of elegantly designed puzzles. It’s been awhile since the mobile space had a must-play title and, well, here it is.

Follow Lawrence Bonk on Twitter @sidescrollers


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