Geese are horrible little creatures. They’re kind of cute… until they chase after a small child or emit that terrible honk. I never knew how much I’d want to play a game where I could do those things. Lucky for me, Untitled Goose Game allows players to control a pesky little goose determined to ruin everyone’s day. From the get-go, I was also ready to ruin everyone’s day. And that I did.
Goose Game is fairly straightforward: you’re a goose who messes with people’s stuff and honks at everything. A perfectly-timed honk can even steer someone’s attention away from the fact you’re about to steal their socks. Using your beak, you can grab objects to carry or drag them around, or to flip buttons or twist a faucet. Each item interacts differently and carries different weight — for example, pumpkins are especially heavy, and trying to drag one out of the garden is a bit more difficult than, say, an apple.
One of my favorite details is that when you honk while holding something, it’s a little more subdued than when there isn’t something in your beak. Honking into a glass bottle also produces the exact sound you would expect to hilarious effect. I really appreciate all the attention to detail that went into such a silly game. The goose waddles around, looking slightly menacing, just as real geese do. It also reacts to people chasing it off by raising its wings and acting defensive, so I like to throw in a honk or two to really solidify my goose roleplay.
It’s not all waddling around and honking; there’s a loose structure and sense of progression in the form of a to-do list. Each area offers new challenges with this to-do list, ranging from things like gathering items for a picnic to making someone snip off their neighbor’s prized rose. Some puzzles are more vague and might require some creative thinking, but overall, they aren’t terribly difficult. Starting off in the garden, the goose makes its way around a town being a total jerk to just about everyone. Most areas are blocked off until the goose finds some way to get them open — you could lock someone in their garage to make them open up another path, or making someone tumble into a locked gate.
Some of the puzzles on the to-do list are straight up evil. At one point, you chase a terrified child around and trap him in a phone booth. Despite how mean it seems, there’s something really fun about being such a pesky goose. I would never do something that rude in real life, but doing it in a game playing as a goose just seems right. The developers did a good job at bringing this goose to life, both through its movements and the way it interacts with the world. Untitled Goose Game feels really good to play, even though I’ve never played as a goose before.
The world shines thanks to a simple yet beautiful art style. It’s cartoony enough that it fits with the silly premise of the game, but it’s also very crisp and nice to look at. The atmosphere is also brightened up by the music, which changes dynamically as the goose interacts with passersby. The music will start to pick up when the goose is seen, especially when you’re caught stealing someone’s slipper right from their foot.
Untitled Goose Game features a bit of stealth, but it’s not game over if someone sees you. If they happen to catch you stealing an object, they’ll chase after you until you’re forced to drop it. I’ve tried so many times to get away by dropping their prized possessions in bodies of water. It never worked. This is where a well-timed honk can help divert someone’s attention. Alternatively, you can just try to mess with their stuff while their back is turned. One area even has walkie-talkies that allow you to honk into one and transmit the sound to the other, distracting people from afar. All these clever touches just make the game so much more enjoyable.
Even if it was only for a short time, I got to live the carefree life of a goose, ready to mess with everyone I saw. It was a fun experience that I can see myself sharing with others to observe how they would bother the game’s townsfolk. Had it been any longer, it may have overstayed its welcome, but as it stands, it’s a short and sweet romp with clever puzzles and amazing attention to detail. And it’s got a stupid little goose that ruins everyone’s day. There’s nothing more I could ask for in something called Untitled Goose Game.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. A copy was provided by Panic.
Prepare to ruin innocent people's days as you run around honking and throwing their stuff around in Untitled Goose Game. It's a simple and fun puzzle/stealth/goose simulator with clever ideas and a lively world.