It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single goose can ruin a perfectly good day. Untitled Goose Game will only prove this.
You’ve stealthily made your way across grasslands and find yourself deep in enemy territory. Moving silently through hedges your target is in sight. You’ve watched his every movement from the tree-line and have found the perfect time to strike and claim your bounty. Did I mention you’re a goose and you’re trying to steal a hat?
Untitled Goose Game by House House follows a day in the life of a goose. Not a genetically engineered super goose, just your normal every day, evil goose. It may seem odd to compare this game to the likes of Hitman and Metal Gear Solid, but the mechanics are strangely similar. You have an objective, in Hitman it’s murder and in Untitled Goose Game it’s mayhem. You’re placed in an environment where you have to stealthily learn enemy patrols and work out the best way to infiltrate. In Metal Gear it’s a military base full of soldiers and nuclear weapons, in Untitled Goose Game it’s a quaint English village full of villagers who don’t deserve to have their day ruined.
Each level gives the goose a to-do list that must be completed before moving onto the next. In the first level, the goose will have to annoy an innocent man as he tends to his garden. You’ll steal his keys, soak him with water and throw his rake into the lake (each level contains an objective that rhymes). Once the Gardner has a breakdown the goose is free to move on with its tyrannical crusade.
Untitled Goose Game is absolute comedy. Every moment spent playing it was fun. Yes, it has some puzzles and figuring out how to get another job crossed off the goose’s checklist. Especially in later levels as the list grows more abstract. But every success has hilarious results. Occasionally you may feel guilty about tormenting innocent villages, but it soon passes as you embrace your inner goose.
Untitled Goose Game also guides you gently by the wing towards solutions. A combination of well-timed audio cues and subtle camera movements aid you in finding a solution without ever explicitly giving it away. This makes solving each one extremely rewarding and the ensuing chaos is a joy to watch.
The goose can only do goose things. It can run, grab things with its beak, flap its wings and, most importantly, honk. Using these basic skills is how the goose will cause all of its chaos. Honking at the right time can cause someone to drop an item you want or flapping your wings can scare someone off.
The graphics are bright and colourful, it’s a simple style that makes Untitled Goose Game instantly recognisable. The sound design is charming, every step the goose takes will raise a smile, especially when it runs. The music, based on Claude Debussy’s Préludes, works in unison with the action on-screen beautifully. There is no dialogue so all humour is extremely visual like the silent comedies of old.
A Quick Gander
Untitled Goose Game is a very short adventure and can be completed in just a couple of hours. Once the credits roll our feathered nuisance is given a new list of objectives to carry out. Although these are still fun, most of them are nothing more than altered versions of what you’ve done previously. So far I’ve only found two reasons for waddling back in, the first being to show other people the game and get them to have a go. And the other was for some easy trophies. Speaking of which...
As mentioned Untitled Goose Game is a short game. I managed to get the platinum trophy in just under five hours. There are several fun trophies to unlock that require just a few extra steps during your first playthrough. Nothing on the list takes long and only two of them are difficult. After completing the game you’ll need to speedrun every level, once again this isn’t difficult and you’ll get yourself a nice trophy for each level. The trophies I found the most difficult were collecting five flowers, as you also need to find the basket to put them in (which isn’t explained in the trophy description). The other was making the shop scales ‘ding’ as the shopkeeper would constantly knock everything off the scales if she caught me. I had to lock her in a garage several times to get the job done. Overall it’s a very enjoyable list that will take you no more than an afternoon and there’s a special in-game reward for bagging the platinum.
Since writing this review the good people of House House have added an update to give your more goose for your gander with the introduction of a two-player co-op mode. This comes in the form of couch co-op rather than online and see’s two geese sharing one screen rather than splitting it in two. As the two feathered fiends move away from each other the view will zoom out but it never allows both players to separate too far. This certainly adds more replayability to this charming title (which really should be changed to Untitled Geese Game now) and gives even more reason to buy this truly unique game.
My time with Untitled Goose Game was an absolute hoot (should that be ‘honk’?). The game is utterly charming and I found myself smiling throughout. Although extremely short it somehow felt like the right amount of goose. Not every game needs to be a sprawling 40+ hour odyssey. Untitled Goose Game gets to the point with a calm but steady pace. It isn’t artificially padded out with pointless content and it never becomes tiresome or boring to play. Untitled Goose Game is a stand-out title full of charm and very much worthy of your attention.