If you’ve ever spent time in a small, rural English village – the kind that creates model versions of itself as a “tourist” attraction – and felt an urge to let loose a stream of noisy chaos upon the quiet Tory fiefdom that surrounds you, then good news! Now you can live out this carnal need without the threat of community service and crippling fines thanks to developer House House and the very-much-titled Untitled Goose Game.
The premise is a pretty simple one: you are a goose. For the most part, the aim of your protagagoose is simply to be as much of a dick to the cast of humans it shares this sleepy village with as possible. You’ll steal their stuff, flap your wings at them, honk at them to scare them and generally make their lives much more unpleasant than they were before you showed up.
The village the game takes place within spans across four main areas. Your first goal, starting from your nest in the park, is to ruin the groundskeeper’s day. Each area brings with it a checklist of the chaos you must achieve to unlock the next location. Some of these are pretty simple instructions, like steal the groundskeeper’s lunch and radio then bring them to the picnic blanket to “have a picnic”. Others are a bit more of a puzzle to solve by setting a few different things in motion, such as “get the groundskeeper wet”.
By causing enough trouble in one area, the humans will eventually grab a “No Gooses” sign to put up in protest. Being a goose, this doesn’t matter a jot in terms of stopping you. But, it does cause them to move obstacles you couldn’t or open locked gates so you can progress to the next location.
The game’s soundtrack, meanwhile, is as unusual as the rest of the game. Moments of total silence are pretty standard. But, as the action ramps up and people get increasingly angry with your goose’s antics, suddenly the sounds of Claude Debussy start to fill that space. Or, to be more exact, composer Dan Golding’s adaptation of Debussy’s Preludes into the game’s dynamic music mechanics. It all makes for a fantastic “Merry Melodies” style effect to marry with the goose’s cartoonish chaos.
Untitled Goose Game‘s puzzle box gameplay even bears a fair resemblance to the antics of Agent 47 in the Hitman games. It’s not quite the same level of elaborate setup as in Hitman’s assassination challenges. But, both are very much about finding creative solutions to problems by exploiting interactions of NPCs with the rest of their world. If you’re looking for a non-violent game that scratches the same itch as Hitman does, the goose game will definitely hit the spot. Albeit for an all too brief amount of time.
Completing the four areas of the game – as well as one final chase back through the village – won’t take much longer than a couple of hours. There are some new, more complicated; challenges unlocked at this point. But they don’t add much that’s new to the game’s real draw of the various interactions the NPCs have with your goose and the world.
The game’s almost-unquantifiable charm goes a long way to balancing out its short nature. Replayability is going to come down to just how much more you want to engage with the game’s world. That will either see you picking the game back up weeks down the line to carry on your reign of terror or just moving on when you hit the credits. Realistically, the top asking price of £17 is quite steep if you’re likely to be in the latter group. But, if you can get it through sales (or by using Nintendo’s eShop Gold Coins) then the pure, distilled happiness that is Untitled Goose Game is worth getting in on.
Untitled Goose Game
A delightful, if short, game that applies a heavy dose of cartoon humour to a satisfying goosey rampage.
- Great visual style and clever use of its classical soundtrack
- It's all over pretty quickly
Value for money
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