If you have been keeping up with the indie game scene then you will be no stranger to the odd wonder of being an annoying goose. That’s right! I’m talking about the recently released, Untitled Goose Game. A game where, as a goose, your whole purpose is to steal from, scare and pester anyone in your way. Oh! And of course, Honk.
When you first dive into the game, you are shown that there is a fairly simple control system. You can duck your head, flap your wings, pick objects up with your mouth and have a whole button dedicated to honking. Fairly simple because, well, you’re a goose. But having a simple system does not have a negative impact on how the game plays. Its charm really comes off of the fact that you are just a goose and really shouldn’t be able to do much. You are very limited and must come up with clever ways to annoy all the citizens of this untitled goose town. I did find at times that the movement could be a little janky where the character would have trouble turning but I also assume this might be a design choice based on how a goose might walk. Regardless, it did lead to some annoying missed turns when running away from enraged townsfolk.
Your main objective is to complete a number of to-do list items that are presented to you upon each area you enter. These tasks can range in complexity but they all have the same underlying principle that results in you stealing or being a jerk to someone. A strange concept that, at first, might seem lackluster but it always gave me a good chuckle when finding new ways to interact with the world. From ringing a giant bell to have someone get startled or trapping someone in their own garage, I never felt bored or that this wacky concept had lost its appeal. I do, however, wish that there was a little more to do in each area. Upon completion of the game, you will unlock new to-do list items but for someone like me, after rolling the credits, I didn’t feel as compelled to do everything as I would have if the items had been there when in each area.
Something I very much appreciated was the artistic style chosen. Having a game where you are angering people, one would assume that the developers would want to include faces and expressions. Instead, you have faceless characters who are still able to show their despair with each item stolen. The characters blend almost as if the whole game is a moving painting. Pair this with the calming yet responsive music and you have an unexpectedly tranquil but upbeat experience. I found myself sometimes getting lost in the world, honking and stealing items that had nothing to do with my to-do list because it was enjoyable even without a required objective.
The puzzles throughout can be a little tricky in some places but generally the difficulty is nothing in comparison to other games from this year (I’m looking at you, Baba is You) but this plays into the main theme of simplicity. This is all about the quirkiness of a goose who just wants to ruin someone’s day and the game does it well. I had a true gaggle of laughs when living out my most annoying fantasies and although it could feel a little slow in certain places, overall the game felt engaging and led me wondering what chaos I would cause next.
For a wholesome, clever and humorous experience, the Untitled Goose Game is your best bet. It brings a breath of fresh air in the stealth genre where you don’t have to physically attack people to have a good time. You just have to give them a good honk and show them you mean business.