You know what, I love a game that puts you in the role of an animal. And no, I don’t mean a heroic one like Sonic the Hedgehog or Bubsy, but one where you just play as an animal. We’ve seen different vibes from these kind of games though, with Goat Simulator one of the most prominent. Goat Simulator entertained its players by being a bit of a broken mess though (in a good way), with the goat antics a bit more anarchic and off the wall (I mean… you go to space).
Untitled Goose Game, the latest title to put you in the shoes- I mean ‘webbed feet’ of an animal, does something a bit differently though. Here, you just do the sort of things a goose does in real life: f**k s**t up and cause chaos. Ok, maybe that’s not necessarily entirely true to reality, but it does make for a thoroughly enjoyable gameplay experience that will give the player a jolly, fun time.
Untitled Goose Game’s controls are fairly simple in design. You move around with the left stick, grab objects with the A button, run with the B button, and crouch with the ZL button. There are two other important actions though: ZR will allow you to flap your wings out wide, whilst Y will let you HONK. You can get ready to irritate anyone around you who hears you playing with that honk too, because honestly, it’s so bloody addictive to do when playing. Whatever you’re doing with the goose in-game, the controls are simple and accessible enough for just about anyone to get used to, making Untitled Goose Game easy to show off to family and friends that are both young and old.
The main bulk of gameplay revolves around clearing the silly tasks that are given to you – things like getting the groundskeeper wet, stealing objects for a picnic, stealing a pint glass and throwing it in the river, or making someone ‘fall on their bum’… you know, typical goose stuff. Actually doing these tasks is ingenious though and will require all of your skillset to achieve. Sure, sometimes it’s just a case of grabbing an item and running away, but other times you’ll have to use stealth to pickpocket someone, honk at the right time to scare them, or just use your wit to completely outsmart them. You’ll need to be both cunning and patient to succeed in Untitled Goose Game, but each task is clear and concise with plenty of visual clues to guide you in what you need to do. It makes for a really, REALLY fun time, and you’re guaranteed to have a smile glued on your face throughout it all.
Want to know the problem with reviewing a game like this? Going into detail about what makes it work so well and what makes it so enjoyable would ruin the fun. Now I’m sure most gamers have seen plenty of videos and GIFs of the goose getting up to no good by this point, but experiencing it yourself and having a hand in the chaos unravelling is just so brilliant in-game. It’ll only take gamers around two hours to experience everything that Untitled Goose Game has to offer, but those hours are spent having a heck of a good time doing something that games rarely manage to pull off: a silly over-the-top concept that has GENUINELY fun gameplay.
The only real flaw to be found in Untitled Goose Game is just how predictable everything can be. The AI of your ‘victims’ isn’t particularly sharp, so they’re pretty easy to exploit when sneaking around or stealing their goods. It’s understandable that Untitled Goose Game isn’t the sort of title that’s trying to put a hefty challenge on the player, but it would’ve been nice if characters were at least a bit more wary of your destructive ways and were a bit more efficient when it comes to thwarting your plans. It’s a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but it might have felt a little bit more satisfying to have to work a little bit harder to complete each task.
Visually, Untitled Goose Game keeps it simple with its clean, cartoon-like aesthetic. This fits the experience though; there’s something pure and almost innocent about the game (regardless of the mischief you get into), so it feels fitting that the visual style feels so peaceful. The animations are absolutely on point though, and seeing the goose running, flapping his wings and hoking is as adorable as is it is endearing. Performance-wise, everything runs smoothly too, regardless of whether you’re playing on the Switch’s handheld mode or on the TV.
One of the main sticking points for players with Untitled Goose Game will be the pricing, with £17.99 a bit of an ask for what is essentially just two hours of gameplay. However, a lot of it will come down to player preference and how you feel about this sort of game: if you enjoy a unique gameplay experience unlike anything else it’ll be totally worth it, but if you can’t appreciate silly fun it might not be for you. Of course, there’s also the fact that almost everyone seems to have heard of the game too, so don’t be surprised if your parents, siblings, or even grandparents ask to have a go of that ‘weird goose game’ they’ve seen on the internet – you can’t put a price on that sort of pure satisfaction, right?
Causing chaos as a goose might not sound like your conventional video game setup, but it really makes for something special here. Sure, it could be argued that it’s pricey for what is a simple and short experience, but when that experience is so delightful, silly and fun, it’s hard to complain.
Whether you’re young, old, a video game veteran, or don’t even know your way around a controller, you’re certainly going to have a good time with Untitled Goose Game. Honk.
Developer: House House
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC