This is going to be a quickie because, frankly, Untitled Goose Game only takes a few hours to beat (unless you have a really hard time with puzzles like me.)
It is the second game made by the four person developing company House House. In it you play a lone, nameless goose in an English village that is bent on terrorizing each and every innocent citizen by trapping, tricking or otherwise bamboozling them into the comical destruction of their property and/or minor injury to their person.
There is no motivation for the bird other than the sheer glee of inspiring chaos. It seems that spreading malice and discontent is its only purpose in life. So… you know… it’s a goose.
The puzzles are generally not too complicated, although the game rarely gives you any hints as to how to solve them. You will figure out nine out of ten of them right away, but I must shamefully admit that I had to look up a guide for one or two as I simply couldn’t understand the mechanics of how they were supposed to be done.
A particular favorite of mine involves stealing a toy airplane from a little boy and placing it in a market, forcing him to buy his own property back when the store owner catches him attempting to walk out of the shop with it.
The music used in a very clever way. They’ve adapted Debussy’s Preludes, a playful collection of piano scores, in such a way that the music rises from silence whenever the goose attempts to do something or whenever the goose is spotted in an attempt to execute one of its numerous schemes.. This gives the player some emotional insight into the character we’re playing, but it also illustrates the moments of tension and levity without needing to rely too heavily on the simplistic visual design.
Stepping into the role of Avian Joker was a welcome relief for me after a slew of self-serious long-form games. I enjoyed the simple, yet whimsical, premise and the stick-it-to-the-man tone. This is the single most punk rock bird on Earth. It was fun to spend a day in its feathers.
This game is an excellent way to spend an afternoon or two. My only criticism is the price. $20 US is a little steep for a game that only gives a brief 2-3 hours of entertainment. Then again, quality is always better than quantity. It’s better to pay a little more for a game that you will love for a few hours than to pay less for a game that will disappoint you. It’s also important to support small development teams like this. The video game world needs more unique voices that aren’t afraid to make something a little different from what gets published by AAA studios.
Now go forth my goslings and wreak havoc on the unsuspecting masses,