We live within walking distance of a fairly quint little petting zoo. Or it was until the middle of last year when the owners had had enough of people feeding the sheep and other assorted animals processed food and crisps and in one case I’m told a bottle of diet soda to one of the spring lambs…… While the zoo is still there, you’re now separated from the animals by a 7 foot high fence. All in that’s fine by me as I no longer have to watch out and worry about me or the family getting nibbled or trodden on by Daisy the cow and her other friends.
One aspect of this petting Zoo I never understood is why the owners thought having three fully grown geese within their collection was ever a good idea? Geese are universally fowl creatures. Bad tempered, bad natured and seemingly only enjoying themselves when causing distress and misery to anything daring to get close enough to be of bother.
This makes for an interesting premise for Untitled Goose Game. It’s all relatively straight forward. You play as a goose with your task being to annoy, harass and generally play the typical goose within a sleepy looking English Village. The idea for all this apparently came when one of the developers, Michael McMaster casually tossed an image of a goose into Slack and with a touch of jest suggested the team make a game about that little farmyard creature.
Having gone ahead with Micael’s suggestion, have the team at House House made something that’s gone all swimmingly or should we be thinking about giving them a little bit of a roasting? That’s quite enough of the puns…..
Having spent an afternoon with the game and in it doing what geese tend to do, I’m genuinely happy to say pretty much everything within it is just so very adorable. The village setting takes me back to one I used to live in just outside of Newbury in the UK. The well kept lawns, flower beds, the village war memorial and small shop selling everything from umbrellas to reading glasses. It’s a picture perfect representation of something so very Home Counties England.
The use of pastel tones with the greens and blues is so very warming to look at as are the folks you interact with as you set about your mischief. I couldn’t help but grin from scene to scene with some of the funnier interactions coming early in the game.
The soundtrack is particularly well thought out and delivers a gorgeous twist on Debussy’s Preludes. When there’s minimal action the sound of the goose as it walks around the village is again so very smile inducing. When you’re being naughty like stealing a set of keys or pulling a chair from underneath somebody the music quickens in pace and ebbs and flows with the onscreen antics. Your honking sound is also tidily done with little wavy lines appearing in front of your beak to provide further visual emphasis of your general grumpy demeanour.
As for the gameplay, well in each of the 5 areas of the village you have a set list of things to get done. These range from taking items from point a to point b. Upsetting the villagers’ by way of certain actions such as getting a poor man to strike his thumb with a hammer to solving little puzzles to move you through the village. There are some hidden objectives within each area and once you finish it all off you can pop back into it and undertake time based challenges.
All in Untitled Goose Game is short. It can be played in a couple of hours or longer if you really go to town with all of those hidden objectives. The only slight issue I found relates to the camera angles. At times the zoom function doesn’t give a wide enough field of view to accurately plot your way around the village to avoid say a fairly spirited shopkeeper whose a dab hand with her broom.
In all honesty, I had the most fun playing this with other people. Together we laughed and joked and giggled at the onscreen antics as if it were slap stick or pantomime. While this might have all started as a little joke, what House House have produced is a little slice of spiced naughtiness.
Note: Untitled Goose Game was played with a full retail launch day version of code for the Nintendo Switch. The copy was provided free of charge for review purposes. For more information on the review and editorial policy for Get Indie Gaming, please head over to here.