When Coffee Stain Publishing and Coffee Stain Malmo announced Goat Simulator 3 ($12.99) for mobile, I was excited to finally play it on a portable platform. Despite the name, Goat Simulator 3 is a sequel to the original Goat Simulator, but I think the developers added so much that they just called it Goat Simulator 3 as a joke. It launched last month on mobile as a premium release, and is one of the rare current-generation only console games to come to mobile platforms. Since around launch, I’ve been playing Goat Simulator 3 on my iPhone 15 Pro, iPad Pro (2020), and also on Xbox Series X recently to see how the game compares across mobile and console right now. I also waited for a few updates to see if there would be any fixes for the issues I ran into.
Right off the bat, Goat Simulator 3 is a lot of fun as a fan of the earlier games. If you’ve never played a game in the series before, the sandbox and hilarity in Goat Simulator 3 make it a much nicer experience than prior games. You can still do whatever you want in the game, but there’s now some structure for those who prefer direction. What stood out right from the start is how Goat Simulator 3 feels like a massive bump in ambition compared to the first game and those spin-offs. I will go so far as to say that Goat Simulator 3 feels like it already has a few Goat Simulator games worth of content included here.
The game seems to not support iCloud progress sync, so I played it very differently across my iPhone and iPad purposely. I wanted to see how it felt if you just try and do what the game wants with its quests while also checking out how much fun there was to be had if you ignore everything and just treat it as a relaxing way to destroy as much as possible. It turns out Goat Simulator 3 is very good on both fronts. Right from the start you can do things like head-butting dynamite into a person, catching fire and setting fire to the environment, dragging a house with a tow truck, playing mini-games, looking for secret collectibles, exploring a very big area, grinding on power cables, and more. As you start trying to explore and do more in Goat Simulator 3, the tutorials start popping up ensuring you know what to keep doing. I found the tutorials quite good here.
While I love a lot of the freedom you get in Goat Simulator 3 and in how it still has some nudges to players to explore and do more in the game world, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it referenced other games and franchises. You see this right from the intro when you finally wake up. I won’t say more on that front, but the team did a really amazing job at bringing other game elements or even parts of levels into the world of Goat Simulator 3.
In addition to the ragdoll physics gameplay, you also have quite a few cosmetic options with gear to equip on different parts of the goat as you explore the huge sandbox location in San Angora as Pilgor once again. All of this with Ubisoft-style towers is even funnier together.
Goat Simulator 3 has touch controls and controller support. Both of them aren’t perfect because of camera sensitivity issues. When playing on the touchscreen, movement is too fast while it is too slow on my Xbox controller over bluetooth. I also used my 8BitDo controller on my iPad to test. I ran into a similar issue on both controllers where some actions were not possible with a controller. These range from some menus to some during gameplay. It feels like the controller support isn’t fully implemented because it does work well in parts, but falls short in others. I don’t have a Backbone One right right now to check how it feels with it on my iPhone though.
Goat Simulator 3 supports multiplayer on iOS but it is limited to up to two players in total. It does work online, and I tested it over cellular as well as wifi. It had no connection issues at all. I’m glad that the multiplayer at least works well. It is worth noting that the console versions support more players.
Speaking of the console versions, I played Goat Simulator 3 on mobile for a good amount of time before properly checking it out and comparing it with the Xbox Series X version. Goat Simulator 3 on Xbox Series X has a performance and quality mode. I used the former but also tested out the latter. It plays better than the iPhone 15 Pro version, but it isn’t perfect even on Xbox Series X with the draw distance and performance issues in parts. The iOS version has no graphics options on my devices. The load times on mobile are very good though.
When comparing the visuals, the foliage and draw distance are better on Xbox Series X by quite a bit. It also can target 60fps while the iPhone 15 Pro and iPad Pro (2020) versions don’t have higher frame rate options right now. The Xbox Series X is the most powerful console available today so it will no doubt run and look better there compared to iPhone 15 Pro, but it is worth seeing how developers scale down games for iOS. Check out the comparison image below for Xbox Series X (performance mode) versus the iPhone 15 Pro version:
The team has been responding to people saying it is looking into adding graphics options and quality of life features into Goat Simulator 3, and I hope those arrive in the coming months because this has the potential to be one of the better console to mobile conversions. I already like the game a lot, but wish the iOS version was better. Barring those things the team said it might look into, the controller support needs to be improved as well. There is no way to adjust camera sensitivity which is too high on touch controls and too low on a controller right now. In fact, I even ran into some issues with controllers (not counting the virtual controls being visible at all times), that required me to use touch controls for some actions. These need to be addressed.
On consoles, Goat Simulator 3 is priced at $29.99 usually. On mobile, it is $12.99 which is a very reasonable price given the game content, but it is a premium price for a mobile port that we usually see from the likes of Feral Interactive usually. The difference is a Feral Interactive mobile release doesn’t ship with so many issues. Once the control and visual issues potentially are addressed, it will be a lot easier to recommend Goat Simulator 3 even at full price.
The mobile version is the full game, but the visual issues even on iPhone 15 Pro are disappointing alongside the control issues. I was hoping some of this would be fixed soon after launch, but here we are. If you have access to an Xbox Series X, I’d recommend playing Goat Simulator 3 there with Xbox Game Pass or buying it on PC or PS5 over playing it mobile right now. I’m looking forward to playing it on Steam Deck when the game releases on Steam in a few weeks.
If you’ve never played Goat Simulator 3 but did enjoy the first main game and spin-offs in the series on mobile, this one is an easy recommendation with a few caveats. While it isn’t perfect even on Xbox Series X, it plays a lot nicer there compared to iOS. I hope we get updates to address the visual and control issues because Goat Simulator 3 feels right at home on a portable and suits the pick up and play nature of the platform while delivering the full game experience from the start.