Can being a goose, really make a good game? I seriously doubted this. Turns out I was wrong to doubt it. Being a goose is awesome. Being a jerk goose is even better than that. Game of the year.
Well maybe. It’s certainly brilliant. The point of Untitled Goose Game, is to be a jerk goose. As you launch you’re treated to your goose-controls. Pick stuff up, duck down, open your wings, run fast, and the most important of all; HONK.
HONK! HONK! HONK! Annoying isn’t it? Imagine being one of the NPCs on Goose Game. They go through hell. Well, they do when I am the goose. The world is basically open, but you progress through by agitating people enough that they put up a sign or something signalling they have had enough of you, and unwittingly unlock the next level.
For example, the first level is in an allotment and a park area with a nice pond. Your first set of challenges include stealing the ingredients to a picnic, getting the gardener wet, and locking him out of the garden. What’s brilliant about Goose Game, is that all of the ways to solve the challenge are logical. What was amazing was watching my niece and nephew play it. She was jumping up and down being the goose, but he (aged 5) was thinking about how to solve the challenges – and they mostly worked.
One early one has you having to make the gardener wear a new hat. How do you do this? Well, my nephew suggested getting him to bend down then steal the hat off his head. Sure enough, I knocked over a pot, he comes to pick it up, I grabbed his hat and ran off forcing him to go and get another different one. Challenge completed.
In this respect there’s a lovely trial and error element to it which reminds me of the sandbox levels in Hitman. You can do anything without real penalty, as the routine of the levels reset and restore themselves. Sandbox play is the best way to describe it really, with some very mild stealth elements. One of my favourite challenges is getting a boy (who you thoroughly terrorise on he second level) to rebuy back his own toy. This involves stealing his toy and placing it in the nearby yard sale, forcing hi to have to pay for it out of his own pocket. Gutted.
There is no heads-up display on Untitled Goose Game. Instead you just get a lovely cartoon world, with a notes page that pops up at the push of a button to let you know what the goals are. Sound effects are those of a quaint little English town, but with some lovely calming music (which is very much at odds with the chaos you cause as a goose!)
It’s hard to fault this, honestly. It’s not hugely long, you can pretty much rinse the game in about four hours – but this means that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s compact, brilliant designed and hilarious. I’m not sure what more you could want.
Reviewed on PS4