Four different billy goats of wildly different backgrounds vie to be king of the hill in Alberto Santiago and Studio Canvas’ mutliplayer-friendly title GoatPunks. Featuring firepower, shields, dash attacks, and other methods of mayhem, should you climb that mountain?
A party game at heart, players will take on three opponents in their hunt to get on top of a mountain. Players must reach the summit and hold it for 30 seconds in order to win, but this is far easier said than done. Only one goat can be on the summit at any given time, and those who show up later can boot the other one off by simply navigating there. It’s not like this goat is defenseless – he can blast away at all would-be climbers with fiery firepower that’ll knock them down to the base.
It gets chaotic fast, but it doesn’t feel balanced. Though players can use a shield and can recover, most players will be in a state of free fall for most of the game. It is far too easy to get hit by a projectile, a goat that is dashing, or an enemy wielding a chainsaw or hammer. Some may say that this will offer a level playing field, but even the most vetted player will be tumbling down on more than one occasion. The complex controls do not do the game any favors either – for what is a simple game about hopping goats, there seems to be a number of different things mapped to each button that players must memorize. The button prompt tips offered at any given moment practically confirm that this game is not the easiest to pick up and play.
There are a few goats to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Divided up into speed, shield, attack, and skill, goats like the “Ninja,” “Desert,” and “Steam” can all be customized with silly hats and accessories. Despite this, they all seem to lack personality and more or less look and play the same.
The same goes for the nine different stages, most of which need to be unlocked. Each has a different aesthetic, but they more or less boil down to the same style of play. The idea of completing objectives like shooting down a set amount of goats or doing a number of charge attacks has merit, but variety is the spice of life in a game like this, and having more than one stage available from the get-go would have gone a long way at making it more accessible.
It’s not like there is much to play, since 80% of the game is incomplete. Of the five options designed for the game, only “King of the Hill” is available. “Treasure Hunt,” “Teams,” “Capture the Flag,” and “Survival” are all “coming soon, and the weekly challenges are not working right now. In addition, there is nobody currently playing online, so the only way players can enjoy this title is to play King of the Hill offline via couch play or via bots. This is a huge oversight, and it feels like an Early Access title with a full release price tag.
GoatPunks is an incomplete game. Not only is most of the game left unfinished, there is zero balance in the one mode that it does offer.
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