Why Are People Freaking Out Over ‘Let It Goat’?

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
July 8, 2014

Just when we all thought we were done talking about the horribly popular iPhone game Flappy Bird, a new iOS and Android game called Let It Goat has sprung up to be compared to it. The game features an American-flag wielding goat named Mounty, whom you must navigate over spikes and snakes by tapping your phone’s screen. 

It’s become wildly popular since its release July 2. The game, made by SkyVu Entertainment interns (interns!) Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson, jumped to the top 25 most downloaded free apps in iTunes’ App Store, earned high ratings there and in the Google Play store, and has even sparked a small debate over whether it does indeed measure up to everyone’s original favorite, the legendary Flappy Bird.

The Daily Dot, for one, has pooh-poohed the game, saying it lacks the charming subtlety of Flappy Bird’s 8-bit format, and accuses it of being unoriginal for virality’s sake: “We could also ask why the pipes from Super Mario Bros. have become the hallmark of every deliberately glitchy, gimmicky mobile game trying to socially engineer its way to the top of the app downloads, but we suspect we just answered our own question.” 

Here, have some formula
It’s fascinating to think that this game could muster such passion and indignation for the sole reason that it isn’t some accidental phenomenon, but rather made by two Internet-savvy teens who know how to exploit how we respond to things on the Internet.

I’ve come to the conclusion that cheap, addictive phone games are a little like The Real Housewives franchise. Each is a variation on a simple theme. Though the setting and cast might change slightly depending on where it’s shot, the core structure of the show — the interviews, the dinners, the costume parties, the long shots of makeup routines — always remain the same. Some interpretations are better than others, but most are just entertaining enough to distract us when we don’t want to think about anything.

The same goes for Let It Goat, which is unoriginal but still entertaining. And different enough to be newly entertaining. It’s a tad bit easier than Flappy Bird. And It gives you a little more variety: There’s a feature that allows you to ride a bear through stages as an extra force field. The bottom line is this: If you want something to kill time with, Mounty is your goat for the task.

How to goat
Here’s a quick run-through of the app:

1. Download it on iOS or Android

2. You might get a notice when you open it. Tap the X on the left to skip through it.

3. Welcome to the play field, which, as the Daily Dot noted, is pretty familiar. There’s Mounty, being the goat. Also, ew, ads on the left. Don’t tap those.

4. Do tap the center of the screen. Mounty will be propelled forward toward a litany of obstacles, which you can avoid by tapping the screen to get him to jump. If he hits a spike, game’s over. For every obstruction you pass, you gain a point. If you jump on a gem, you’ll get extra points.

5. When you begin, you’ll have access to three bear boosters. They act as force fields for your goat. He mounts the bear, the bear jumps through the obstacle course, and once he hits something, instead of losing a goat life, the bear evaporates and Mounty is once again vulnerable. 

6. This is what it looks like when you lose. You’ll see it a lot.

You can share your score on social media (please don’t). Or watch a clip of your game over again. That’s actually helpful if you want to get an idea of what went wrong. Click the Try Again button to continue the cycle before you burn out on this game. If you do, rest assured that it won’t be long until the next dumb installment of cheap entertainment comes around.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her here.