Untitled Goose Game is a stealth game with some puzzle solving elements created by Australian-based developer, House House. Playing as a goose with a serious knack for wreaking havoc was an incredibly fun time, I only wish that there was more of this charming and hilarious game for me to play.
As the title suggests, this game is about a goose; a goose that gets a kick out of terrorizing the local community. That’s it, that’s the premise. You play as a goose and run around (waddle around?) a minimalistic English village causing all kinds of trouble as you cross off items from a list of naughty goose-esque tasks. It’s simple, it’s enjoyable and is downright hilarious. I had the best time completing tasks ranging from stealing the keys from a groundskeeper’s belt to chasing a young boy into a phone booth. The only real pity is that the game is so short. Players will easily be able to make their way through the five main areas within about two hours. There are some more challenging tasks that become available once the credits have run, but it would’ve been great if the experience lasted a little longer.
The gameplay is mostly stealth-based with a fair amount of puzzle solving along the way. The goose is able run, honk and flap its wings, not to mention grab onto things. This will be your arsenal as you move from area to area, solving puzzles that do nothing but greatly upset the village’s inhabitants. The controls are very easy to get the hang of and you’ll be darting around in no time. They can be a bit finicky at times when trying to grab an item that might be close to something else. It’ll end up highlighting the incorrect item, resulting in you needing to manoeuvre the goose in a different position. This can be a little frustrating when attempting to lay a trap for a villager. Thankfully, Untitled Goose Game is pretty forgiving when it comes to its difficulty, so you’re free to take things at your own pace.
Stealth is a big part of the game. If you want to get away with half of the tasks before you, it’s going to require some finesse. Barrelling towards a character is a good way to end up dropping an item you might be carrying, potentially ruining your plans. Sneaking around and hiding in tall grass is imperative if you want to get the drop on your targets. It’s like playing as Solid Snake, if Solid Snake was a goose and an absolute menace.
The puzzles are mostly straightforward, but there are a good few of them that will require you to think somewhat laterally if you want to check them off your list. It’s incredibly rewarding figuring out the solution to a task that has an intentionally vague description. It’s also a fair amount of fun to experiment with the items in the environment in order to make a villager perform a certain action, all so that you can take advantage of the poor sap. What’s also pretty exciting is entering a new area to see what kind of goose-laden mischief you can get into and then honking like a maniac afterwards. It’s just so satisfying.
As mentioned before, the game’s art style is quite minimalistic and it actually works really well. The presentation is charming and is a pleasure to look at, right up until the very end. It even extends to the game’s audio. Most of the time, there’s no music whatsoever. However, as the goose completes tasks and irritates the village inhabitants, the soundtrack kicks in. It’s not in your face and is instead a smart, jazzy piano composition that complements the slapstick action happening on screen. It reminded me so much of the black and white silent comedies of the past.
Untitled Goose Game is just great. It combines stealth, puzzle solving and humour to deliver an experience that is both incredibly charming and enjoyable. While the game is quite brief and the controls frustrating at times, it didn’t stop me from having the time of my life, being a jerk wherever I went. Untitled Goose Game is fantastic and had me grinning from ear to ear all the way through.
Initial release date: 20 September 2019
Developer: House House
Publisher: Panic Inc.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Macintosh operating systems, Microsoft Windows
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