Review: Avian Antics in “Untitled Goose Game”

Nicholas Biglin, Staff Writer

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“Untitled Goose Game,” is currently ruling the internet. The game was released on September 27th on the Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac by House House.

When the game was first announced in October 2017, the trailer went viral for its unique premise and odd name. There were some concerns about whether or not the name would be kept, but when the game resurfaced this year to confirm its release date, the title remained “untitled.”

“Untitled Goose Game” is a puzzle-stealth game about a goose in an English village who ruins townspeople’s days. The goose can honk, grab objects, run, and flap its wings (solely for dramatic effect).

The goose’s controls are easy to manipulate, but the game’s complexity comes from the goose’s interactions with the objects in the environment and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) townsfolk who react to the goose. Players are assigned tasks throughout the game, and once the goose has completed enough objectives, it moves to another part of the neighborhood.

The arrangement of the game is a form of “wide linearity,” which allows for the AI characters to have a single space in which to move around without overwhelming players with a sprawling space to complete objectives in. The game’s clever design allows players to only need to complete one less than the given amount of objectives to proceed to the next section.

A problem many game designers struggle with is how to keep gamers engaged when they are stumped by a certain puzzle. By allowing players to tackle the puzzles in any order, the Goose game designers have avoided this obstacle.

Regardless of the modifications, the “Untitled Goose Game” is still challenging. The tasks later in the game are especially difficult, but players never reach the point of frustration, as there’s always a different job to tackle.

The game’s artistic style is minimalistic, comprising simple shapes, colors, and shading, which conveys the quaint village-life of the setting. Although new areas are introduced at different times in the game, the designers manage to retain the sense of cohesion in the game’s world by staying true to the setting’s artistic style. Every detail logically fits in with the game’s environment and has Metroidvania-like backtracking, as players open up paths returning to previous areas.

The goose is a charming protagonist, conveying much of his mischievous character through honks and wing flaps. The townspeople’s humorous reactions and the goose are the two most alluring parts of the game.

As one could imagine, many opinions have surfaced over the internet about the “Untitled Goose Game.” The hysterical concept drew widespread recognition, and the game has gained worldwide acclaim and favorable (although perhaps tongue-in-cheek) comparisons to the shenanigans of the popular Grand Theft Auto games, the stealth gameplay of the iconic Metal Gear Solid series and the creative sandboxes of the Hitman series of games.

“Untitled Goose Game” proves the continued ingenuity and boundless creativity that independent games can offer, providing an immersive and lighthearted experience for its players that no triple-A game could ever dream of creating.

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