Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
GoatPunks is a confounding game. But then again, there’s probably no way for a goat-based multiplayer combat version of king of the hill not to be at least a little bit confusing. However, while its weirdness is worth experiencing, determining whether or not it’s actually any good is a much tougher question.
Like I said, GoatPunks is kind of a hard game to wrap your mind around, but let’s try anyway. Players control a goat (naturally) competing for domination on a mountain full of other player-controlled goats. They can earn a few points by knocking opponents off of their perch or collecting rabbits that pop up and grant various abilities. But the real jackpot comes from making it to the top and staying there until the end. However, heavy are the horns that wear the crown, and although top players can try to defend their position by raining thunder and fire on their foes below, get usurped and they’ll tumble all the way back to the bottom where they started.
With all of that nonsense, GoatPunks has the potential to be a silly fun multiplayer party game, but the execution is lacking - or maybe it’s just on the wrong platform. The game encourages the quick tactical thinking and local good-natured trash talk of something like Super Smash Bros. but dragging around the goat from block to block feels sluggish and indirect, while silent online matches against strangers are alien and lifeless since it’s hard to tell if anyone even knows what's going on. Reaching the top of the mountain only to get bumped off at the last minute should be this huge, dramatic reversal, but instead it just becomes an endless series of anticlimaxes set to music that sounds suspiciously "borrowed."
And yet, a fair amount of the time it does click. Maybe it’s because players have some neat options. They can design their goat and pick out its elemental attacks. Maybe it’s because the matchmaking does a good of comparing the player’s skill against potential opponents. Or maybe it’s because the various mountain arenas, while incredibly basic 3D models, make for cool and unusual battlegrounds.
I don’t know how players will react to GoatPunks, not because it’s some brilliant work not suited for ignorant masses, but rather because it’s a strange game that’s both oddly appealing yet intangibly flawed. And I bet you thought Goat Simulator was confusing.