Untitled Goose Game Review: A honking good time as gaming’s new favorite villain
Played On: PS4 (Original)
*All Photos shown below were taken by the author*
In a year where great villains like Thanos and Rose the Hat have wreaked havoc on all that oppose them and a villain was born from the hatred around him in Joker, who knew that 2019’s greatest villain would actually be a goose – and that you got to play as it. Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you know that I’m talking about the goose from developer House House’s new game – Untitled Goose Game. For months, the internet was flooded with memes all about this mischievous goose and once I heard that the game was finally making its way onto to PlayStation, there was no way that I wasn’t getting in on the action – and, thankfully, it lives up to the hype.
As said before, players take control of a goose who’s got a to-do list to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting citizens of an English village. Yes, it’s that simplicity that makes Untitled Goose Game such a brilliant delight. In all my years of gaming, I never though controlling a normal goose, with no special powers or anything, would bring me such joy, but House House creates such an enjoyable, genre-bending experience that’s unlike anything else. The best way to describe the experience is that the game is a puzzle solving stealth simulator that basically lets you control the biggest a-hole on the block.
Right from first honk, players will instantly have a connection to the goose and the more you waddle around through each section, their love for it will only grow stronger. The goose is incredibly simple to control as players can use its honk to either intimidate citizens or lure them towards you so that you can sneak around to snag something. It’s actually a very useful mechanic that give players options for completing items on your to-do list. Maybe you’re trying to make a picnic and need to get a whole pumpkin past an unsuspecting gardener, so you honk to distract him while you sneak a pumpkin by to complete your picnic. Maybe you just want to scare a young boy into a telephone booth so that you can sneak into a video store and make your TV debut. Maybe you just want to honk for the hell of it because it’s so damn fun. All of this, and more, is possible and is what makes this game actually a very fun stealth game.
Causing mayhem and completing your to-do list is no easy task though as the game’s never direct in guiding players on how to get each task done – which I really loved about the experience. There’s very little handholding and it makes players have to explore the environment and study character movements. It’s a challenge that makes unlocking new areas, figuring out where items are, and just pissing off people around you more rewarding. It makes the chaos you cause more calculated and the way the game leans into players solving puzzles and problems is perfect and constantly keeps views on the hook. Not to mention, who knew causing havoc and annoying a local village could be so much damn fun?
With a to-do list at your disposal, players are challenged in plenty of different ways to cause problems for unsuspecting civilians. From creating a feud between two neighbors to stealing silverware from a local pub, there’s nowhere this goose won’t go. Seeing each task crossed off feels so satisfying and going into a new area is exciting because of the new kinds of challenges players will have to overcome. The havoc you cause is also just hilarious as just simply moving things around and misplacing other people’s things sends them on a wild goose chase to put them back. You can even just cause your own chaos as players are free to explore the English village and mess with just about everything. Even better, it’s all delightfully scored to classical music and I constantly laughed at how well it all fit to what I was doing.
The journey, itself, is actually quite fulfilling as well with everything coming full circle and even though, it just seems like unorganized chaos at first, the end actually surprised me with how everything came together. The only disappointing thing about Untitled Goose Game is that its only about a few hours long. However, there’s some post-game challenges that extend the fun and offer more challenges for players to take on. Not to mention, for PlayStation players, there’s a great trophy list that tests the speed of players and sees how fast they can finish their to-do list.
Very few games allow players to play as the villain and that’s exactly what makes Untitled Goose Game so special. Aside from it’s charming premise, it’s just a blast to play as it’s an experience filled with rewarding exploration, hilarious moments that come from playing as a goose on the loose, and challenging stealth gameplay that’s fulfilling. Hopefully House House has more in store for gaming’s favorite goose because their initial effort with it is easily one of the most delightful gaming experiences of 2019.