Untitled Goose Game
Geese might look majestic from a distance, but anyone who has ever ventured too close can tell you, they are not birds to be trifled with. The Internet is full of stories, photos, and videos of people who learned that lesson the hard way. Untitled Goose Game, by House House, turns the tables by allowing players to experience what it is like to be a belligerent goose.
Apparently, the reason why geese can be so mean towards humans is simply overzealous parenting, but this is not the case in Untitled Goose Game. Oh, no, here you play as a goose who appear to thrive on causing as much havoc for the people in the English village close to its home. Everyone is simply going about their daily lives when you show up and begin to annoy them. As much as it is to simply waddle around as a large goose, you are playing as a goose on a mission. Actually, it’s multiple missions as each of the four main areas in the game comes with a handy checklist of things that you need to do before you can proceed. These objectives range from mostly harmless, such as stealing various small items to downright malicious, such as destruction of private property and almost scaring people half to death. We don’t want to give away any of the objectives in the game as it is quite short and seeing what task you are given next is half the fun, but suffice to say most of them are hilarious. One thing is for sure, your actions are sure to cause endless frustration for the hapless villagers.
The best way to describe UGG is a type of stealth puzzle game. It features no serious violence and thankfully nobody dies as a result of your actions either. Even your goose emerges from most situations unscathed as the worst thing people can do to you is shooing you away. Since most of your objectives involve stealing items or messing with them you have to keep a careful eye on your victims. Spotting your kleptomaniac goose in the vicinity will already make them suspicious and you can be sure that they will give chase if they notice you make off with something. Since they are generally faster than you, this will result in your goose dropping the item if caught and the person returning whatever you took to its rightful place. This means that you need to study their routine to see when is the best moment to strike and make up with your prize unseen or how to cause a distraction that will divert attention away from your actions. If you manage to complete enough objectives in an area a new one will pop up that opens the way to the next if accomplished.
Untitled Goose Game is viewed from an isometric overhead perspective and features visuals that are minimalistic, but very colorful and wonderfully animated. Just watching your goose waddle around is adorable, but seeing the kind of havoc you can cause is brilliant. Your duck starts out near someone’s garden and after making enough of a nuisance of yourself there it is on to the main street, some backyards and eventually the outdoor pub. There is also a fifth area with an end-game objective that sees you basically running a gauntlet through the whole town.
Five areas are not a lot, but at least there is plenty to do in each one. The objectives on your list range from relatively easy to quite tricky and there are also plenty of other items to interact with. A lot of times we had fun simply messing with random items in the game world to get a reaction out of the poor villagers. Completing the game can be done in just a few hours if you are good enough, but thankfully there is a bit more to it. After the credits roll you are given some new objectives that are harder than before and involve items from different areas. This makes things a bit more challenging than the original objectives which were all restricted to single areas. There’s even a speed run type challenge that opens up for the truly skilled. Unfortunately, the five areas in the game are all there is and we were left wanting more unique locations.
Untitled Duck Game not only looks great but also has a whimsical piano soundtrack that fits it perfectly. The soundtrack is actually based on Debussy’s Préludes and will change dynamically depending on your actions in the game. The sound effects are minimal, but decent, and UGG does not feature any type of voice acting or even dialog. What we loved about the audio is not only does your honk sound great, but you can also alter it by picking up certain items. Whether it’s a walkie talkie, harmonica, or even a traffic cone, carrying these items in your beak will result in different honks.
Although we tried playing the game with a keyboard and mouse we soon switched to using a controller as it just feels more natural. The game provides players with a dedicated button for honking, which must be a first outside of the racing genre. Honking at people is actually extremely useful, especially when they least expect it, but waddling around making a racket, in general, is also a lot of fun. There is also a button for spreading your wings, which is less useful but does look cool. The game has a button for grabbing things, but you might need to hold down the button to lower your neck first to get to certain items. Unfortunately, grabbing things can feel a bit imprecise if there are a lot of things near each other, but overall we didn’t have too much trouble getting what we wanted. Finally, there is a button for running and buttons for zooming in and out. There are no inventories to worry about or stats and levels of any kind, so you simply waddle around as a goose and have fun without fear of a “Game Over” screen.
Unfortunately, UGG is such a short game as it left us wanting more even after completing the bonus objectives. A few more areas in and around the village would definitely have been welcome as currently, it feels somewhat incomplete. The game doesn’t really have a story or anything, but the “ending” is definitely in line with the rest of the game and made us chuckle. Your enjoyment of this game is going to depend on how much you like these types of sandbox-style titles. Some of the objectives that simply require you to stash a list of objects somewhere is a bit boring, but there are also more creative ones, like tricking people into doing your dirty work. There’s also more than one way to accomplish certain objectives, but even so, the game doesn’t have a lot of replay value. However, as short as it is we definitely enjoyed our time with Untitled Goose Game and hopefully, this is not the last time we get to terrorize a small English village as a spiteful bird.