A quiet English village may not seem the typical setting for a video game. But, for ‘Untitled Goose Game’, it is the perfect setting to cause some meniscal mayhem.
‘Untitled Goose Game’ is a puzzle game that was developed by House House as a joke, before they moved onto making more ‘serious games’ (yes, really). In the game, you play a Goose with a single end goal: steal the village’s model bell and bring it back to your home.
Sounds easy right? Well, the player must go through 4 areas within the village in order to get to the bell; each with their own list of tasks to do along the way. The player can complete the tasks in any order they wish, or complete enough to progress to the next area.
Out of all the games that were released in 2019, this is the most fun and memorable one to come out.
It has a simple plot and a familiar setting to explore (it’s nice to see the English village being represented in a video game!). Plus, the tasks are there to cause mischief but are ultimately harmless; the goose is just there to be an annoyance to the human residents. Like in any puzzle-style game, the tasks are easy in the beginning and act as a tutorial then become more challenging as you go through each environment. However, the game doesn’t hold players’ hands; it wants to make you think of ways to complete each task and, like previously mentioned, each task can be completed in any order, essentially giving the player free reign of each area that you progress through.
The controls are easy and simple to use, and responsive. However, after personally learning from experience, a controller is highly recommended to play this and not a PC trackpad. It’s not unplayable if you choose the latter method; it just makes the game more tedious than necessary. In terms of how the player (or Goose) moves, it is extremely accurate, despite its cartoony-looking nature. Whether it’s waddling round with a sense of authority or flapping your wings in a ‘threatening’ manner, it is presented in a way that you’d expect from a Goose. And, yes, you can honk and it is just as delightful as you’d expect.
The music also plays a huge part in the presentation of the game. Clearly influenced by Claude Debussy, the chaotic piano pieces have two purposes. This is to tell the player that they’ve been spotted/being chased by a resident or appear the moment the player starts a task. Because of this, the music stops the second a scenario calms down. It’s a clever decision and makes the music score stand out more. It also works as an indicator to whether you’ve been spotted or not, which is a unique and charming technique.
Another unique aspect of ‘Untitled Goose Game’ is the overall design. The decision to make the humans faceless means that facial expressions are replaced with body language and dramatic reactions to the Goose’s wrongdoings. This is where the game’s sense of humour is really demonstrated. It is reminiscent of cartoons like Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry and works beautifully to accompany the silly but charming scenarios that are caused by you, the Goos- I mean player.
It’s clear why ‘Untitled Goose Game’ became one of the biggest indie games of 2019; it’s chaotic but charming and you can’t help but love the mischievous Goose the second the game starts. The humour is universal due to its slapstick nature and anyone can pick the game up and start playing. It’s also a window into that chaotic side of everyone; the second I was given the chance to mess up the garden that’s in the first area, I immediately jumped to the opportunity.
If you have not experienced this game yet, then I would highly recommend you do so.