‘Untitled Goose Game’ review

Untitled Goose Game is a game where you play as a goose who tries his best to mess with the inhabitants of his village. Released by House House on September 20th, it has since been praised with critical acclaim, as well as a 98% “liked it” score according to Google Users. But is this game really that good? Does it deserve the 81/100 on Metacritic? Let’s find out.

The first thing you notice about Untitled Goose Game is how it looks. For starters, there is very minimal outlines on anything, and shadows are often subtly shaded so they are generally unnoticeable if you are not looking for them. This gives the entire game a cartoony vibe, but does it in a way that doesn’t sacrifice depth. It’s very hard to explain without pictures, so here one is:

Everything you need to know about this game can be seen in the picture above. You are a Goose, and your job is to steal the human’s belongings and mess with their lives every way you can. The game has a unique art style, not one I particularly like, but definitely one I don’t despise. 

Untitled Goose Game has simple controls. You move around with the control stick, can zoom in or out with the triggers, and you press A to grab stuff with your beak. You can grab most things, whether they are apples, radios, or even harmonicas. Oh yeah, you also have a honk button, which does just what you think it does. With this dedicated arsenal, you are ready to control the townspeople to your every whim.

The music in this game plays a big role in the over all experience, although not in the way you would expect. There is no real soundtrack, no background music that plays during the game. However, whenever you try to attempt something, like sneaking up on a villager, classical music will play at the same intensity as the situation. In this example, it would start to play creeping piano music as you approached the villager, and the music will intensify when you start to steal their stuff.

This is a good base for a game, but in my opinion, this entire game is lacking in fun. Even though it is a sandbox game, it feels like there is nothing to do. You have a checklist of things you need to do to beat the game, like locking the Boy in the telephone booth or getting the Groundskeeper to hit his own hand with the hammer. The game doesn’t tell you how to do this, so you have to use your limited arsenal of honks and beak grabs to achieve everything. Sometimes, this is simple, like honking at the exact moment the Groundskeeper attempts to hit the sign with his hammer.

But because the game doesn’t give you any hints on how you have to figure things out, every puzzle in the game is one you need to solve on your own. Normally, I like puzzle games, but because this game doubles as a stealth game, there is no sense of progression when solving puzzles. In a game like Portal, you have every piece of the puzzle, and through trial and error, you can slowly figure out how to solve a puzzle. In Untitled Goose Game, there is still trial and error, but instead of discovering new ways to solve the puzzle, you simply try the same thing over and over again, waiting a while in between attempts for the villagers you are messing with to go to the spot you want them to.

That’s my main problem with this game. I have some other minor issues, like how the camera never really angles itself on what you want, and there are no camera controls besides zooming in and out, which don’t really accomplish much. It doesn’t ruin the experience by any means, but I wish there was someway to toggle the zoom out button so you didn’t have to hold it.

So, is this game worth it? Despite its flaws, is it worth the 20 dollar Nintendo Eshop price? I would argue not. Even though it has the word “game” in its title, I don’t really consider it a game. It’s an experience, something you’ll play a few times to fulfill that desire to mess with some people for a few hours. At best, I would wait for one of your friends to buy it, and then just play it when you’re at their place. 

My final rating for Untitled Goose Game is 6/10.

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