UNTITLED GOOSE GAME
Developer: House House
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Switch
Review on Nintendo Switch
The premise of Untitled Goose Game is a simple one: You’re a goose whose sole purpose in life is to wreak havoc within a local village. Once you clear a tutorial in the woods, you’re given a growing to-do list that will guide you towards being the absolute worst goose in the neighborhood.
It’s an idyllic village setting. Townsfolk populate each area, going about their day in harmony before you descend upon them with your list of chaos-inducing items. There is limited dialogue from the townspeople, which makes sense, considering you are, after all, a goose and couldn’t possibly understand them. Yet their reactions to your antics are what make Untitled Goose Game a pure delight, from traumatizing neighborhood children to knocking over a bucket onto the head of a poor worker.
Seeing the frustrations and anger I caused was more rewarding than completing the list itself. I only wish more townspeople were afraid of my goose. We all know how terrifying a real-life goose encounter can be, but perhaps these villagers have become utterly desensitized to this particular goose–resulting in less fear and more anger. They do keep a shockingly high number of no-goose signs around.
One of the endearing qualities of the Goose Game is its simplicity, in terms of both the game world and the controls. There are the basic movements: run, bend down, pickup/interact, flap wings, and the best-button-of-all: the honk button. The set up makes it easy for anyone to be able to pick up a controller and jump in. Though the environment can feel sparse and basic at time, most of the items can be interacted with by either picking up or grabbing. These items are easily identified as they get illuminated whenever they are in reach of the goose’s beak. Then it’s up to you, as the goose, to decide what to do next.
The overall gameplay of Untitled Goose Game mixes puzzles and stealth with being an outright asshole. The ever-growing to-do list does not need to be entirely completed in order to advance through areas, but the game does leave it to you to figure out how to complete each item on the list. Stealing certain items often involves hiding, dashing, and good-timing–though at no point in time do the puzzles feel impossible. The more you play in the Goose’s world, the easier you get a grasp on how things are done. Even then, I found numerous ways to complete objectives, only discovering I had done them differently after I watched other gameplay videos. Getting stuck or simply frustrated in an area can be solved by the helpful option of “resetting” in the main menu. Your progress is kept, but all the items and villagers are reset to their original positions.
Playing on the Nintendo Switch, I found that basic Goose movement with the Joy-con stick was not as responsive and felt sluggish when trying to maneuver my Goose, and there was no option to change sensitivity in the options screen. It should be noted that in the options screen, the to-do list can be switched from cursive (for those that have trouble reading it) to plain text.
Limited to about five re-explorable main areas with around two hours of gameplay, Untitled Goose Game is an entertaining endeavor for all-ages. At the end of the day, being an asshole and a goose is nothing short of fun, even if it is for a rather brief adventure.