Every now and again, a game comes along that makes us ask one
question; Why? Not that it’s a bad thing, there will always be a place for
titles like Goat Simulator, I Am Bread, and most recently, Untitled Goose Game.
Developed by House House and published by Panic Inc., Untitled Goose Game is
just that, a game where you run around as a goose, doing goose things,
harassing people and ruining their day in the process. It’s a novel idea that
provides some fun for its brief runtime but doesn’t offer much else past that.
Untitled Goose Game follows an unnamed (or untitled) goose that shares a common goal with all geese-kind; annoy people. There’s no real narrative or story to follow here, just people going about their daily lives on a beautiful day in a small town, and your job is to be as much of an annoyance as you possibly can. Untitled Goose Game doesn’t focus on its characters and world at all; it just serves as a vehicle for gameplay.
There are a few different things you can do as the goose that
stars in Untitled Goose Game as its protagonist. You can pick up various
objects around the world, waddle, waddle fast, position your head, flap your
wings, and most importantly, you can honk to your heart’s content. If it sounds
simple, that’s because it is, there isn’t much to Untitled Goose Game’s
mechanics, but the way they interact with one another and require you to use
them to solve puzzles is smart, creative, rewarding, and entertaining.
The town in Untitled Goose Game is split up into segments that act as levels. These areas have specific objectives that need to be met to move onto the next. Things like dragging a groundskeeper’s rake into a lake or setting up an entire picnic for yourself out of his produce and equipment, are just a few of the antics you’ll get up to. Additionally, there are hidden objectives that you can fulfil by doing specific things that you’ll most likely stumble upon as you experiment. You never feel like you’re doing the same thing as you progress through these areas, and each one has a distinct feel and place within the town. What surprised me most was the way these levels link and connect via shortcuts to create an interlinked world that feels real and believable.
It’s a strange yet entertaining gameplay experience to see how the
NPCs of the world interact with the unnamed goose and its antics. I found
myself constantly chuckling at some of the stuff I was getting up to, whether
it was honking through a traffic cone, or untying someone’s shoelaces before
scaring them and establishing my dominance with multiple honks and wing flaps causing
them to fall over. It’s great fun while it lasts, but once you’ve satisfied
each areas objectives and have satiated your goose-fuelled curiosity, there
isn’t much to keep you around. The linear puzzle design restricts a lot of
freedom and creativity, which inherently holds back Untitled Goose Game from
having as much replay-value as it could. To some, the price of admission for
this kind of experience may be too high for only one or two playthroughs.
Where Untitled Goose Game shines, though, is in its
presentation, performance, and visuals. The game has an undeniable charm about
its low-poly models and almost watercolour-like aesthetic. It’s always a
pleasure to look at, the way the goose and NPCs are animated is endlessly
endearing, and I experienced zero technical issues during my time with it. It’s
all tied together with a calming soundtrack that emphasizes the serenity of the
small town and its inhabitants, until you come along, that is.
THE PC VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL COPY OF THE GAME WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER
It’s clear that Untitled Goose Game is a labour of love from House House. It’s an entertaining honk-filled romp that’s guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s wanting to become a goose. Your first playthrough will no doubt be your best due to the restrictive design, but the hidden objectives and unique environments offer plenty of reason to explore and experiment with its charming world and characters. There’s never been a better way to simulate being a goose.