In Untitled Goose Game, you take control over a feathery bully who steals items from the local townspeople. Will this attempt to mix slapstick humour with stealth gameplay soar high or will it drag its cute webbed feet in shame?
The premise of the game is rather simple: you get a To-Do list with various ways to annoy people in a specific area. Cross them off and you get to move on to the next zone. What makes the set-up unique is that you’re playing as a malicious goose.
Given your unique goose anatomy, controlling our feathery friend takes some getting used to. You can honk to draw someone’s attention or to spook them, lower your head to grab things on the floor or rise up and spread your wings (which is only required once if I’m not mistaken). The worst offender here is that it can be daunting to target specific items which are close together, I’ve found myself grabbing certain objects and just dropping them a little further away so I could go back to grab the one I really needed.
There are some nice touches to be found while messing around in this world though:
- if you find a bottle, your honk will be muffled somewhat by the glass
- if you find a pacifier, your goose will run around sucking on it
- heavier objects will drag over the floor
- you can’t grab a ball so you have to “neck” it around
Most of these are not even obligatory, but that didn’t stop one madman from collecting every single item in the game and dragging it back to the nest:
The issue with the game is that watching short clips on Twitter or compilation videos like the one above are actually more fun than playing the game yourself. While your tasks on the To-Do list will sometimes require a multi-step process and a bit of thinking, it all just breaks down to picking up items and moving them from one place to another (I’ll honk at the first person that dares compare this to Death Stranding!)
The idea of the game seemed brilliant to me when I was watching clips of it being shared by the developer and other people playing the game ahead of me. What I didn’t realise, is that I had pretty much seen the entire game this way before playing it. There are only 4 major areas for you to mess around with people and then some paths connecting them, though it’s nice to see that shortcuts unlock along the way.
With its under-two-hour length and low replayability, I felt like the $20 asking price was a bit steep. I was on board with everyone beforehand and truly thought this would be a fun title, but somehow the novelty wore off rather quickly and I found myself going through the motions. There is nothing wrong with short experiences like that, but the core gameplay just didn’t appeal to me.
I did appreciate the visual style and the faceless humans were surprisingly good at expressing emotions. The flat and clean art style makes for nice-looking screenshots and enhances the shareability significantly, making it look like images taken straight out of a children’s storybook. On the audio front, I don’t have a whole lot to say: if there was a soundtrack it went by unnoticed and the loud honking of the titular character becomes annoying almost from the onset (I guess that’s normal, given that annoying people is the entire point)
— BloodyGoodReviews ❄ Ary & the Secret of Seasons (@Bloodyspasm) January 6, 2020
Untitled Goose Game starts with an interesting premise: Stealth your way through town like you are Solid Goose and then annoy people in specific ways to cross out pranks from your to-do list. But the repetitive nature of your tasks, which boils down to “grab the item and move it someplace else” soon outstays its welcome. It might be funny to most, but to me, it felt more like a chore.