It’s about time.
I remember playing Untitled Goose Game at EGX 2018, albeit on the Nintendo Switch, and absolutely loved it. Well over a year later it has finally waddled its way onto Xbox. The premise is simple, and doubles up as the game’s main tagline. “It’s a lovely morning in the village and you are a horrible goose”.
It’s a refreshingly different style of game too, whilst being utterly ludicrous at the same time. Your aim, being very basic, is to disrupt the villagers’ lives as much as possible. You’ll be pinching a variety of items from them, as well as just generally causing chaos. I always said geese were evil.
Despite me falling in love with this game instantly, I guess I should remind myself to stay objective throughout this review. And that is what I will endeavour to do.
Untitled Goose Game was developed by Australian games company House House, who debuted with their first game Push Me Pull You back in 2016. And if you’re not already aware, the action in Untitled Goose Game is backed by a rather enthusiastic piano soundtrack. You’ll get your first taste right at the start, on the main menu screen. It’s offbeat but strangely compelling – much like the game itself.
The cel shaded graphics in the game aren’t without their charm, and most will pick up on the somewhat random British road sign theme present in the menus. Still, there is something genuinely hilarious about how brilliantly the goose is animated in this game. Whether you are sneaking, honking, waddling or just causing general mayhem, it’s a huge amount of fun to watch, nevermind play.
You, of course, play the titular goose and get a very quick tutorial at the start of the game which shows you the ropes. The most important button is X, which allows you to honk. This will most likely be the button you press most, as it’s so satisfying using it to scare the village residents.
Aside from honking, you hold A to run, LT to bend forwards (essentially sneak), RT to spread your wings and B to use your beak to pick things up (as well as do other things). In addition you use the bumpers to zoom the camera in and out, and can control what the camera will default focus on via the options menu.
Untitled Goose Game is essentially a sandbox game, and you have a ‘to-do’ list to tick off in each part of the village. After the short tutorial you swim straight into said village, and right into the game proper. You can check your progress, as well as find a reminder of the control scheme, by hitting the view button.
You do not necessarily have to complete your ‘to-do’ list to move on, as there will be one key task to complete (denoted with an asterix) which will allow you to progress. This won’t usually appear until you’ve crossed off the majority of tasks on your list however. These objectives will see you causing all sorts of hassle for the village residents; most of it hilarious, some of it a bit cruel. There is something irresistibly satisfying about watching confused villagers attempt to figure out what is happening from the safety of some high foliage.
I suppose the main criticism I can level at Untitled Goose Game is that, in a sense, it’s a one trick pony. Yes, no matter how delightfully amusing it is to go rampaging through the village, there’s very little else to it. Aside from your fairly simple list, you’ll just be wandering around aimlessly, up to no good. I guess that is the point though.
Most tasks on your list will be pretty obvious, and the vast majority are very similar in how they make you play. However the odd few may have you scratching your head for a few minutes before the penny drops. You will be offered no help whatsoever in figuring things out, but that just makes it more satisfying when you do. This is about as difficult as Untitled Goose Game gets, but really it’s all about having fun. The ‘to-do’ lists are a simple but effective way in guiding you on the most entertaining route through your sandbox adventure. You’ll be up to all sorts from pinching a market trader’s wares to locking a child in a phone box. What other game can offer you that?
Untitled Goose Game costs £16.74 but is also included with Xbox Game Pass. If you aren’t a Game Pass subscriber it’s still well worth the price thanks to it being a pretty unique experience, all things considered.
Untitled Goose Game on Xbox One provides an experience unlike any other; filling your heart with joy. Despite showing it’s hand from the very start, and then doing very little else, it’s a ridiculous, hilarious and utterly charming little game.