Untitled Goose Game Review

Life is all about being sensible and obeying the rules. Pranks, must be kept to a minimum, and jokes are usually frowned upon when they are at someone else’s expense. You must be polite and remember your manners. What do you think would happen if we turned life on its head? If everyone did what they wanted? If your goal was to cause as much mischief and grief as you could? Well, prepare to release your inner goose and you will be able to answer these questions.

The Untitled Goose Game is a puzzle game with elements of stealth. It has been developed by House House games and was released on multiple platforms in September 2019. The game is set in a quintessentially English village over 5 mini areas, your job is to control a goose and make the resident’s life a misery. How, you might ask? You simply have to disturb their daily routines anyway you see fit.

So just to clarify, you play the part of a goose, whose main aim is to ruin people’s day by solving puzzles and being stealthy, whilst attempting to complete his naughty plans. I know absurd right! Whoever heard of a stealthy goose? What could possibly go wrong when trying to be a naughty ninja bird?

The gameplay is fun, mischievous and whimsical. In each area you are given a checklist of tasks to complete and using creative thinking you have to do everything in your power to manipulate the environment and people around you, in order to achieve your goal. Peck, grab and flap to steal the necessary items, honk your heart out, and do whatever it takes to complete that list. The game does not take itself seriously and is purposely created to be silly, this I understand is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but as long as you go into the game with this point of view you will enjoy it. The title has been designed as a single player experience, but I would highly recommend playing this with others watching; in particular my young children were howling with laughter at the shenanigans being played out before their eyes. I certainly found it more enjoyable with my children watching than I did playing this on my own. The other aspect of more people watching is that they can pick out the small details and items scattered around to give you more options in creating bedlam, and ultimately more amusement for everyone.

With the gaming industry so heavily focused on violence, sex, profanities and realism, the developers took a refreshing approach. With its tongue in cheek slapstick theme, it is clearly designed for all of the family to enjoy and in my household we cherished this.

For the completionists out there, this will take around 4 – 6 hours to finish. The beauty of this is that as the end credits fade, all the secrets will reveal themselves to you. This means that you don’t have to look on the internet for guides etc. You can just sit, be one with the goose and enjoy the game. If you like to get value for money out of your purchases, then you won’t be disappointed. Once you have waddled your way through the first playthrough, you can then complete the tasks again in a time limited mode. This was one of the few areas where House House games hadn’t focused on family play, it really does add a challenge. In my opinion, it would frustrate younger players, though it did introduce an element of difficulty, I believe the balance is about right, and I felt it extended the gameplay perfectly.

Untitled Goose Game really is a simple concept, the development team focused a lot of effort on allowing the player to choose how they wanted to solve a puzzle, and how you feel it’s best to complete the devious list. In an indie game it is rare to have such freedom.

The audio sets the scene perfectly, it all adds to the fun, and due to the slapstick nature of the title I was waiting with bated breathe for a Benny Hill style scene. The sound of the goose honking, the screams from people who are scared, and disgruntled, all adds to the wackiness of the game. The music is charming, you have the simplicity of the piano playing in the background to show calmness and serenity when nothing of significance is happening. This music can change drastically depending on the situation and danger, these are subtle changes, but add so much to the overall ambience of each level.

The graphics are crisp and clean, they are simple and beautiful all at the same time. Bright and vibrant colours really make this an enjoyable world to lose yourself in. The animation of the characters is brilliantly done, again adding to the perfect charm that this game is setting out to achieve. Some people might point out that the villagers look “basic”, I believe that the designers have purposely done this to show the world from the goose’s point of view.

As with most aspects House House have tried to make moving and controlling the goose as simple as possible, the opening level guides you through the button mapping, and it’s pretty straightforward to pick up, I had a few minor gripes, but nothing that took away from the fun. You have an option to sprint around, but when you do this all agility is lost and you suddenly have the turning circle of a tanker. The other issue I found, was selecting items to move. Sometimes the game confused itself and you were unable to choose the desired object, this was particularly frustrating when trying to complete the speed rounds. Time is of the essence and the goose is pulling apart the wrong item.

Overall my experience was positive, although I wish the game was slightly longer. I personally loved the silliness this game oozes, the graphics, sound and minimal guidance. However, I know that certain elements are likely to put some people off. Given that no game is perfect and putting my personal bias aside, this game is well worth the 6 hours of your gaming life to frolic, be annoying, and generally live the life of a goose.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Untitled Goose Game Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sound - 9/10
    9/10
  • Replay Value - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
8/10

Summary

It’s time to ruin everyone’s day, this slapstick stealth game will have you stealing hats, playing pranks and honking a lot. Time to unleash your inner Goose.

Pros

  • Fun gameplay.
  • Nice graphics and animation.
  • Audio fits the game perfectly.
  • Straightforward, but at times challenging to complete.
  • You’re an angry goose!

Cons

  • No storyline and silly gameplay might not be to everyone’s taste.
  • Those with a lack of imagination might find limited replayability in the game.
  • The time challenges at the end could be difficult and frustrating for younger gamers.