Untitled Goose Game (Switch) Review – A jerk of a Goose
If I can find a fault with Untitled Goose Game, and that’s a BIG if, it’s that it’s too short. Coming in at around two hours (2.5 at a stretch) Untitled Goose Game is over way too soon. From the moment I took control of the titular Goose until I finished my final objective, I had an absolute ball. I have never, ever in my 30 years of playing video games laughed as hard, as loudly or as frequently as I did while playing Untitled Goose Game.
It taps into some dormant, childlike fascination with animals and, at the same time, our tendency to anthropomorphise them. Not that this Goose has any human qualities, at least not visually. Any human qualities the Goose has come from the player.
And thus the brilliant ouroboros quality of Untitled Goose Game is revealed. Players love the Goose cause “he’s like people” but he’s only like that because of the person controlling him. The more human the Goose’s actions seem, the funnier it is and the more the player wants to keep going.
There’s an entire essay in why this Goose, this absolute jerk of a Goose, is so appealing to players, but that’s for another time.
Untitled Goose Game Switch Review
Untitled Goose Game wastes no time getting down to business. A very short and practical tutorial is followed by the first proper section. The first area features a pond and garden. The only human around is a Groundskeeper and this poor fellow is your first victim.
I get some sick pleasure from honking at the NPCs in Untitled Goose Game and watching them react. Often they’ll drop what they’re carrying due to being startled. Sometimes they’ll come looking for the source of the noise and occasionally they’ll be terrified and flee.
It’s hard to explain just how satisfying it is to press a button and have the Goose honk. It just is. The reactions to it by the NPCs are simply an added bonus.
Honking is but one of the tools the Goose has at its disposal. It can also waddle slightly faster, bend down and use its beak to peck, hold or use items and objects and flap its wings.
Essentially, Untitled Goose Game is a puzzle game. As the Goose, you’re given a list of objectives and need to complete them in any order. The list of objectives tell you your goal but never anything beyond that.
Some are straight forward and self-explanatory — Get into the Garden — while others take a little more effort to figure out. A huge part of the fun in Untitled Goose Game comes from experimenting and figuring out what you can and can’t do and what effect you can have.
Some objectives require multiple steps to be completed, while others are simplified fetch quests. The objectives that require you to set off a chain reaction of events in order to create the right environment are the most fun.
Thankfully, there are lots of them. These are the objectives that will require you to distract one NPC while stealing an object and making sure yet another NPC is following you so that you can do something awful to them.
You’ve probably seen the clip of the Goose honking right as the Groundskeeper goes to swing his hammer, causing him to smack his hand instead. There are lots of little moments like this in Untitled Goose Game. All of them coming together to make the game the wonderful experience that it is.
As it’s so short, I’m loathe to go into too many details of some of the mischief you can get up to. However, I will say that stealthily undoing an NPC’s shoelaces then making them chase you leads to hilarity, every time.
Stealth is, sort of, a part of Untitled Goose Game. You do need to be a bit sneaky from time to time and by going slowly and quietly you can get some things accomplished. The penalty for being spotted though isn’t really a penalty at all. When you steal an object, if an NPC sees you, they’ll chase after you, eventually catch you and take back whatever item you had.
But, once they start walking off, you can simply follow along behind, creep up and snatch it out of their hand. There’s really no issue with being seen, or being caught. There are a few locations in the game that will see you driven away if you’re spotted but it amounts to little more than a slight annoyance.
Plus, you get to harass the person who scared you off. Nothing better than a bit of revenge.
The town in which everything takes place seems to be inspired by the hamlets and villages of England. It’s small and self-contained with gardens, a high street and, of course, a pub. These are the locations that the Goose goes to cause trouble
Visually, Untitled Goose Game looks like a children’s book come to life. The flat colours and untextured models perfectly encapsulate the light, playful tone. Characters are all low-poly and look boxy but again, it helps to sell the quaint setting and feel of a living storybook.
Thanks to the less demanding visuals, Untitled Goose Game runs like a dream on Switch. Whether playing docked or handheld, movement is silky smooth with nary a frame drop in sight. It also helps that the semi isometric view restricts the amount of detail on screen at any given time.
The framerate isn’t the only thing that’s flawless in Untitled Goose Game. The animation, especially of the Goose, is absolutely incredible. I could, and did, watch the Goose waddle around and honk for ages, without even playing the game.
The way the Goose struts when waddling at its normal pace just screams cockiness. Though, that may be me projecting again.
From the simplest, smallest animations to the largest ones, Untitled Goose Game oozes with quality and amazing results achieved from some obvious dedication and hard work.
It might be short and it might be an absolutely insane idea for a video game but Untitled Goose Game is easily one of the best games I have ever played. The incredible ease with which the gameplay is discovered and the sheer delight that comes from playing is unparalleled.
That this game came from a tiny, four-person team in Melbourne is mind-blowing.
Looking like a fairytale and sounding like a Loony Tunes cartoon, Untitled Goose Game is the rare combination of game design and artwork that is seen less and less often in today’s (largely) AAA gaming space.
Untitled Goose Game is an absolute masterpiece and if it had had more content, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a perfect 10.
It may be short, but those few hours you spend as the world’s most obnoxious Goose are some of the best hours you’ll ever spend gaming.
Untitled Goose Game was reviewed on Switch using a digital code provided by the developer.
Game title: Untitled Goose Game
Game description: Untitled Goose Game is a slapstick-stealth-sandbox, where you are a goose let loose on an unsuspecting village. Make your way around town, from peoples' back gardens to the high street shops to the village green, setting up pranks, stealing hats, honking a lot, and generally ruining everyone’s day
Being a jerk has never been so much fun - 10/10
The Goose's waddle. Seriously, look at it - 9.6/10
Lovely art style and great visuals - 9.7/10
Over too soon - 4.3/10
Simple, self explanatory, easy to learn - 10/10