Untitled Goose Game – Review
In Untitled Goose Game, we play as one horrible goose gone loose in an English village. Honk, honk honk honk? Here’s what we think.
My favourite moment in Untitled Goose Game came right after I failed to make an old man fall on his bum. That was the brief, you see. I had to make him fall on his bum. And he hadn’t. As the man put his stool back in place, he looked at me with his eyeless little head, and I, the goose, stared him down with an audacity beyond compare. Video games routinely celebrate being a nuisance, but I’ve never really seen the appeal of it until I played as the goose. Here’s a protagonist who must be stealthy like a Metal Gear hero, but also clever like a point-and-click adventure character. The goose’s mission is to ruin everyone’s day, but best of all, it cannot be killed or forced into a game over. No, the goose’s nuisance is ceaseless.
Untitled Goose Game is built entirely around the concept of picking up things with your beak and carrying them around. You can also honk, flare your wings, and walk fast (but not that fast). Over the game’s short runtime, you use these fine skills to steal objects and elicit reactions from the townsfolk. Your goals are laid out to you on a to-do list, which gives you a hint of what you need to achieve. The goals are all comically naughty, such as getting a young boy to wear the wrong pair of glasses, or cause someone to smash a vase, or—yes—make an old man fall on his bum. These object puzzles aren’t terribly hard, although they do require a mind for comedy and mischief. Figuring out how the townsfolk will react to your actions, and what you need to do to get them to react in the first place, varies between being intuitive and obtuse. I found the controls a little fiddly as well, which often seemed to get in the way of my tactical mischief, but the unique hook and well-realised style of the game are more than enough to make me forget those nitpicks.
The style is worth a special mention, as House House has effectively used minimalistic visuals and music to create a particularly elegant atmosphere. Why yes, when I was harassing an English village, the perfect musical accompaniment to my devilry had to be a piano. Creating a game about a mischievous goose is one thing, but the sophistication House House exhibits has elevated Untitled Goose Game into a distinct work of art.
It’s a short game, but I thought that with the thinking and experimentation that goes into its puzzle-solving, Untitled Goose Game is just about as long as it needs to be. Its offbeat concept and gameplay vocabulary also make it an adventure that will be remembered for a long time. Untitled Goose Game is refreshingly original, and its penchant for nuisance taps into a vein of mischief that has never been approached with this kind of elegance.
Developer: House House
Country of Origin: Australia
Release Date: 20th September (PC, Mac, Switch)
This review of Untitled Goose Game is based on a copy provided by the publisher. The PC version of the game was played for this review.
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WHAT DID Into Indie Games THINK?
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
Untitled Goose Game is a refreshingly original game about being a ruthlessly mischievous goose, and it hits its mark with a resounding honk.