Untitled Goose Game Review – Beware Of The Goose!

Untitled Goose Game Review

 

It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose. Untitled Goose Game combines sandbox-style simulation with slapstick-style shtick and lets players loose on a sleepy village. Make your way around town, from the village green to the high street shops. Setting up pranks, stealing hats, and generally ruining everyone’s day.

Gameplay

Developed by the amusingly named House House and published by Panic. The synopsis alone tells you all you need about the general premise of Untitled Goose Game. So without further adieu I’ll jump straight into the gameplay.

You control the titular goose and you make it your sole mission to ensure nobody has a good day. Described by the team as a “stealth puzzle game” it certainly lives up to that description.

This is a single player experience with very simple controls. You can sprint with B, crouch down and flap your wings with ZL and ZR respectively. Oh and of course HONK with Y.

With the brief tutorial over with, go forth and use what you’ve learnt to wreak havoc on the poor inhabitants of the sleepy British village.

You have a handful of different locations such as a farmer’s garden, a high street complete with shops and some lovely back gardens to name but a few. Each area is linked with no loading screens between them, which is great and helps keep things flowing.

The various locations give you a handwritten list of objectives to complete in any order you choose.  With an added bonus objective for you once you’ve cleared them all.

These can vary from throwing someone’s lunch in a pond, to pulling a stool away from someone as they’re about to sit down. All of which culminate in hilarity.

It’s fair to say then, that Untitled Goose Game is a sandbox style of game. Where, for the most part at least, you are free to do as you please. It’s definitely a niche genre of game, which some may not like.

There is no written or spoken dialogue throughout, instead relying on visual queues to draw your attention to the things you can interact with by pressing A to grab/peck.

Audio and Visual

Right from the get go you’ll notice the minimalist nature of the game. The art style chosen is simply divine. Opting for a soft cell shaded look with a subtle pastel colour palette

There is a drastic lack of textures used, instead going for solid shapes and bold colours, it almost looks like paper craft and because of that it oozes character.

The sound too is also downplayed to brilliant effect. Rather than any kind of background music or a grand orchestral score, House House has instead chosen to use a single piano.

Whilst you won’t hear much of it to begin with, it tends to cut in when you get close to the villagers, such as when you play a prank on them or when they’re chasing you.

This all comes together, along with the slapstick nature of said pranks to give the game a very comedic feel. Somewhat reminiscent of a classic Benny Hill sketch or a silent movie.

Sound effects were also on point and surprisingly realistic, which I felt really offset them from the dreamy, almost surreal style of the game. The rustling of bushes, the “plopping” of a sandwich hitting a pond and of course, that HONK!

Everything ran very smooth with no dropped frames or slowdown from what I could see, whether in docked or handheld mode, which I always appreciate.

Critique

As much as I had a blast with Untitled Goose Game, it does have a rather short run-time. Whilst younger players could occupy themselves for hours, the older, more experienced gamer would probably finish it in a single sitting.

With that in mind and the fact that it is a rather niche style of game, I can see many gamers taking issue with it’s brief but quirky offerings here, especially with it’s £17.99/$19.99 price tag.

That being said, for completionists, there are extra objectives that you unlock on clearing the game for the first time. Think of it as a “new game plus” which I feel many would appreciate.

If I only had one gripe with the game, then it would be it’s soundtrack. As much as I loved the clever use of a piano, I did find it a little sparse in places and felt that some gentle background music would’ve alleviated some of the silence. Particularly in-between areas, or when there wasn’t many interactions.

Verdict

In all, I had a great time. From what looked and sounded like a bizarre concept when it was first announced, it has grown into a masterpiece of game design and has since garnered a cult following.

Completing each task made me genuinely chuckle to myself and I felt a sense of accomplishment for doing so. There was a couple of head-scratchers in there that really made me think, but in the end the payoff was all the sweeter.

As previously mentioned, the pricing could be a barrier and those that aren’t into the toy box style of experience might pass this one up, but I do feel it is an essential purchase for every Nintendo Switch owner.

 

Highly Recommended

 

Enjoyed this review? Check out Micramanic’s review of Redeemer: Enhanced Edition and mine for The Tenth Line Special Edition! If you enjoy our content we hope and encourage you to check out our Ko-Fi page. We need all the help we can get to start a podcast and to further our site’s quality! Thanks!

Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch by Micramanic. Game provided by House House/Panic.

Neil

Gamer enthusiast, huge Nintendo fan and of anything retro. Fulfilling my dream of writing game reviews, thanks to AnyDayReviews.

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