Strange and outlandish games aren’t a rare sight in the indie gaming world. There are plenty of games that try to implement atypical designs and mechanics. Most of the time they just feel like an experiment given up on halfway through. Untitled Goose Game manages to explore a weird and, as far as I’m aware, unique premise and ended up with an entertaining and polished experience.
— 🎃 ΛLISTΞR 🎃 (@xZombieAlix) October 19, 2019
The most prevalent things about Untitled Goose Game are the memes created around it. I can’t remember a recent small developer/indie game that had quite as many people racing to make and share funny content around it. The free advertising must have been a beautiful sight, especially since it lead to over 100,000 copies sold in the first two weeks. Many developers of low budget titles struggle to get even the smallest amount of traction in the public eye.
The Actual Game Though
Successes aside, the reason that Untitled Goose Game has gotten so much attention is that it’s a lot of fun to play. You take control of a goose that has all of the basic functions of your typical goose. It can waddle at a moderate pace or run slightly faster. It can swim across bodies of water. It’s able to pick up moderately sized objects and drag slightly larger ones. It can even honk to its little heart’s content.
It is up to the player to use these abilities to move items around the environment, trigger events with the NPCs of the world, and generally just be a nuisance. You’ve got a list of tasks for each area you venture into that usually involves grabbing items behind people’s backs and whisking them away to some area for no good reason. Up until the very end, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for anything this goose does outside of having fun or just being a jerk. That, in itself, makes the game even more enjoyable.
Over in the Honk of a Beak
One of the biggest issues with Untitled Goose Game is that it doesn’t last very long. I played from the title screen to credits in less time than the last Avengers movie. The innovative and fun nature of the game left me wanting more, which made it a little relieving when you could do a new set of tasks on a list after the end. I would much rather have more content than new challenges though.
These post-ending tasks are a good bit tougher and some even require tasks to be done in a certain period – essentially creating speed runs. This is a good addition, but it still relegates you to the same dozen or so character interactions in four or five zones. The most enjoyable part of the game is how you ultimately end up wronging these poor NPCs and making their life difficult. Within the short duration, I never got tired of snatching an item and watching them panic as they chased me hoping I wouldn’t escape.
Worth a flock?
Untitled Goose Game is a little pricey at $20 on the Switch and Epic Games Store given its limited gameplay. However, the game is certainly an experience. As silly as it is to watch, the interactions and tricks you can employ give the gameplay a little bit of an emergent quality. It’s interesting to see what works and what doesn’t, especially with the more challenging post-ending gameplay. When you get control of that goose and do your sassy little waddle, it’s a much more fulfilling experience than it would seem in writing or a video.
This game certainly has the power to appeal to all sorts of people, especially those that love a more relaxed and mellow gaming experience. The gentle piano that is sprinkled throughout and reactive to the on-screen events adds a perfectly blended and enhancing effect to the gameplay. Yet, I think people who want more out of their games in terms of overall value will find it easy to wait for a half-price sale. By this point you’ve probably missed out on contributing to the meme value, so you’re safe in getting this 2-3 hour game when it is a bit more cost-effective. You should get it at some point though… if only to make sure the developers keep making games this enjoyable (and hopefully longer).
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a simple game where you guide a mean goose through his daily tasks of annoying his neighbors. It's short, but every minute is fun.
- You play a goose. That's weird and fun
- Simple gameplay with bits of emergent goodness
- Action-dependent laid minimalist soundtrack
- Lots of cute and comedic outcomes to your actions
- Shorter and smaller than I'd like it to be
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