It is the honk heard around the world.
Untitled Goose Game is an astounding simple game with a simple premise but becomes a masterstroke of game design by way of sublime execution. If you haven’t paid the game mind before now, Untitled Goose Game takes place in a small, quiet village with the player taking on the role of the horrible goose. That’s the title in a very simple nutshell but what does it take to be a horrible goose?
Turns out it’s a bit of stealth and puzzle solving that take up a goose’s day, and for a player that means creativity rules the day. For example in the first area, players are given objectives to meet like “enter the garden” or “rake in the lake” but there is no one way to get there. Finding ways to distract the gardener to clear the way to pull the massive rake to the lake might sound simple, but it quickly becomes a ballet of pulls, honks, and general flapping about. But apart from the objectives, if a player wants to just play and experiment they are free to do so! The entire environment has no time limit and it can be fun to go the extra goose jerk mile and terrorize the town further.
While the gameplay is mostly solid, occasionally if items are grouped together your beak will reach for the wrong thing. It ends up being a minor inconvenience (especially compared to the mayhem you make in the game) but it still detracts from the overall experience. Still, few things beat the pure creativity you can enjoy from playing around with different objects and how the goose and townsfolk interact with them. And unless a player is interested in speed running, there are no game over screens or time limits. You’re free to honk to your own pace, making this a great way to unwind from more intense multiplayer games.
Untitled Goose Gameemploys an isometric perspective using very simple but charming graphics. Even though it does display in 4K on Xbox One X, don’t expect greater detail in models or textures. Most objects and characters will appear as a smooth item with minor details applied for any visual representation of texture. That happens to work in the game’s favor though as it presents almost a toy box environment filled with opportunities for mischief.
The sounds and music employed are unremarkable, but that appears intentional. The effects of objects sound exactly as you would think they should, with special attention given to the slap of the goose’s feet on pavement. None sound off-putting, and if one is hard of hearing there are on-screen notifications for when someone or something is making noise. Music is used both as an auditory alert to when the goose is spotted and as up-tempo accompaniment to being chased. Interestingly, the piano is the only instrument used with plenty of short staccato style key usage. Even if it doesn’t have something I can listen to on a car ride, it captures the on screen action as a klepto goose very effectively.
If accessibility is a concern for you, Untitled Goose Game helps greatly in the realm of controls. Regardless of platform, button inputs can be reassigned at will, and toggles for holding buttons down are available. There is no voice acting and as such there are no subtitles, though the font can be changed from “cursive” to “plain” to “italics”, and multiple languages are supported without a hassle. The game also doesn’t use any visual notifications apart from white squiggly lines to signify sound, or the notebook style paper used for objectives. While not revolutionary, accessibility features should serve the game as well as players in need greatly.
Generally, Untitled Goose Game doesn't have a long playthrough time for the campaign or extra to-do items. The game and all of the achievements can be grabbed in about 4 hours, give or take. I definitely would want more as my time in the village was well worth the gander. However, the most fun I had was when I was playing it with friends over and mayhem ensued when we each had ideas on how to terrorize the townspeople.
Even if only one person is playing, House House has created a game where everyone can unleash their inner terrible goose and gave us a trip we didn't expect. It could be longer, or have more than a single village as an explorable area but this is still a game that is more fun than I expected it to be.