Untitled Goose Game Review – HONK!

HONK!

Hey crumpets, Toast here. Today I am reviewing the bizzarely titled – Untitled Goose Game by the equally bizarre House House on the Nintendo Switch. If the strange naming system devised for both game and developer are anything to go by, we are in for quite for the trip.

Untitled Goose Game starts off as any game about a goose should – by instructing you to honk. Your waddling little goose then proceeds to steal random objects and destroy nearby infrastructure. Once you’ve wrecked the immediate area, only then does the game start. For a 1-2 minute tutorial, it certainly nails the sadistic mentality that all geese share.

Yes, that is a rampaging goose with a stolen sandwich. No, the wing spreading is not required.

Once you’ve gotten your barings, you are free to explore and interact within a small sandbox. You can swim, honk, pick up and drag to your hearts content. Eventually you will bump into the meat of the game – tormenting hapless villagers. As a goose, you naturally have a checklist of evil deeds you must commit. These range from stealing various items, causing grievous bodily harm to the elderly and generally being a pain in the bottom. As you complete tasks, new ones open up and the map expands. This gives you ample opportunity to ply your trade across this quaint, unsuspecting little village.

At its core, Untitled Goose Game is stealth/puzzler hybrid. Your goals often require you to do nefarious deeds without being caught, or impeded by the various townfolk. Many tasks require you to think outside the box, often utiling each villagers unique behaviours to cause chaos on a scale a regular goose could only dream of. As a goose, you have no need of a plot, rhyme or reason. That being said however, there are certainly threads of a story to be uncovered by the time the credits begin to roll. Needless to say, no spoilers.

Once again, spread wings are optional. But when the game has a button for wing spreading…is it really optional?

Controlling your satanic goose is simple thanks to the limited move set. You can pick up/drag items with you beak, sprint uncontrollably, honk at will and somewhat pointlessly open your wings. I say somewhat, as this wing motion is exactly what a goose would do, so having it included is certainly a nice touch. Sometimes your interactions can cause the laws of physics to bend and sprinting sometimes feels a bit too sluggish, but overal its as tight as a goose’s bite.

Tying all these pieces together is the beautiful presentation. Untitled Goose Game goes for a very minimalistic artstyle that is of course simple, yet undenianly charming. Animations exude personality and push a very slapstick comedy-esque vibe, that melds perfectly with the rest of the game. Everything from waddling, to swimming, to watching a man hammer his thumb is just a joy to behold from beginning to end.

This child is about to suffer a fate worse than his fashion sense. Wings not required.

Easily one of the most standout features of Untitled Goose Game is its use of music. For the most part, there is none. You are left with nothing but very subtle sound effects giving all your actions a sense of weight. That is until you hit the sprint button, or are in hot pursuit by an irate villager. Suddenly a wonderfully erratic piano kicks in to complement the action and then gracefully fades away once ot ends. It is a surprisingly effective score that feels like it adapts to your actions. The quirky jig is as random and unpredictable as the titular goose and ties the whole package together perfectly. Infact since hearing the score, it has permanently engrained itself into my psyche, becoming the soundtrack to my life – and I love it.

Not all is fine and dandy in the world of Untitled Goose Game however, as there is 1 glaring issue – the game is very short. Some could say too short. With only a handful of locations to torment, the game will only last around 4 hours before you’ve hit the end credits. This is made worse due to type of game it is. As a puzzle game, there is very little incentive to go back and play again, making the game somewhat bittersweet.

Proof wings are not required.

House House do make an attempt to alieviate this issue by giving you some postgame content to play through, but this is little more than an added 2 or so hours. Whilst it is a real shame the game is so brief, it also never overstays its welcome. There is a very real chance the charm and novelty of the games premis would wear thin had it been longer, so there is that. I would still have liked even 1 more area to sink my teeth into, alas it was not to be.

Overall Untitled Goose Game is a brilliantly realised title that kept me hooked for its somewhat limited duration. It is one of those games that warms the heart, whilst putting a smile on your face. Even at only 4 hours long, I would venture to say it is probably a contender for my game of the year. If you’re a fan of quirky, avian based puzzle games, this is for you.

Untitled Goose Game scores a 9 out of 10. It would have scored higher, but a troublesome goose swooped in and stole some of my number keys.


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