Upon purchasing a new game, especially with the complex technology games now have on offer, your expectations can be sky-high. Some offer lifelike graphics, creating intimacy and making you feel part of the game. Others offer mind-blowing open-world maps, giving you endless roaming alongside secret Easter eggs hidden by game developers. It is then perhaps odd to describe Untitled Goose Game, which came out in the latter months of 2019, as one in which you’re a goose on the loose in a small British village.
The prime objective of the game is, in essence, causing a nuisance and bothering inhabitants of this quaint British village to fulfil a range of unique tasks. You begin outside a groundskeeper’s garden and progress further into the village after completing the first theoretically easy, but practically difficult, checklist.
Stereotypically, games that focus on stealth require a brave hero; one equipped with a determined mindset alongside a few special powers, embarking on a challenging adventure. So, envisioning a wild goose as your so-called protagonist is, albeit strange, quite endearing. Do not underestimate the ability of the goose – you’d be surprised at its strength to drag heavy sacks of soil, its intelligence to trick a little boy into locking himself in a telephone box, and its strong desire to embrace any slapstick mission it encounters.
Often games are rated on whether they have realistic graphics, but Untitled Goose Game does not hold these qualities. Instead, the graphics are of the highest quality in their own individual way – the designers aimed for simple graphics, creating the aesthetics of a child’s colouring book. It is this sheer simplicity that makes the game’s many environments look neat and snazzy. Even the items are immaculately designed.
It’s safe to say I have never played a game quite like Untitled Goose Game, and I am so pleased as to have stumbled across it
While the graphics are fashionably clean in style, the game’s physics and sounds are unquestionably more complex. Upon manoeuvring objects for the first time with the goose, it surprised me how lifelike the components reacted; the way the rake scratched awkwardly across the grass as it was dragged along was both frustrating and satisfying. These highly realistic tactile sensations really place you as part of the scene.
This satisfaction continues with the soothing aural sensations executed so well by the developers. A gentle piano plays concurrently with the progression of the tasks, allowing you to focus on the nuances the game’s soundtrack has to offer. When the goose is in danger and being chased, a sharp increase in the piano’s tempo reflects a sense of urgency and stress. What I appreciated the most, however, was the popping sound produced as the goose pulled a cork out of a beer-barrel, which was meticulous to a tee.
It’s safe to say I have never played a game quite like Untitled Goose Game, and I am so pleased as to have stumbled across it. It’s a triumph for House House, a relatively new indie developer, with Untitled Goose Game being their second game created. Even the game’s origins encourage a chuckle, which came about when an employee of House House uploaded a stock photograph of a goose onto their internal communication system. It is precisely this randomness which captures the attention of many, including me.
I shall miss the light pitter-patter of the goose, as it ambles about seeking its next prey. I will also miss the quirkiness of the tasks, despite being led to doing morally questionable things to innocent citizens. Yes, I am specifying the task in which I had to command the goose to steal the little boy’s toy plane, and place it among other items in the local shop, where he then had to buy it back.