It’s been a great year for us gamers. The last few months have seen a flood of incredible releases – and the hype is still in full swing. From Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition to Zelda: Link’s Awakening, the great titles just keep rolling in. But there’s one game that truly stands apart from the crowd.
Geese are remarkable creatures. Some farmers even use them to guard their land, counting on the fearless birds to send any intruders running with their ferocious honk. And yes, ‘honk’ is the technical term – we googled it. Some readers may be wondering what on earth this foray into the animal kingdom has to do with gaming. Nothing at all, it seems – but that’s the point: there just aren’t enough goose-based computer games out there. There are plenty of dragons, bears, dogs and mice in our games nowadays, but geese rarely feature. The video game studio House House clearly felt the same way, because it decided to devote an entire game to these cunning birds. It’s called Untitled Goose Game and it’s available on PC and Nintendo Switch.
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Cult status despite simple game mechanics
In the online world, Untitled Goose Game has gained cult status overnight. That’s despite, or maybe even because of, its incredibly basic graphics and simple game mechanics. The game’s protagonist is a goose that can spread its wings, duck, honk and pick up objects with its beak. There’s no inventory, weapons, skills or any other flashy features. All the player has to guide them through the game is a to-do list, and most of the listed tasks involve making life difficult for the village residents. For instance, we can honk at a young boy, frightening him into shutting himself inside a telephone box. Once he’s trapped, we promptly steal his toy plane and place it, unnoticed, on a stand in the flea market around the corner. We then watch with smug delight as the boy returns to retrieve his toy and is caught ‘stealing’ by the owner of the market. This might not sound especially groundbreaking, but for some strange reason, terrorising the village with these minor pranks is extremely satisfying.
The silly pranks keeping players hooked
Thought bubbles floating above the residents’ heads indicate what the next task is – just like in The Sims. This makes it easier to plan pranks, because the thought bubbles always keep us one step ahead of our victims. For example, the gardener wants to tend to his garden, and the speech bubble shows that he is looking for his trowel. This gives us a head start, so we can get to the trowel before him and drag it away. Since he follows the trowel, we can decide where he goes next. If we place the trowel next to the sprinkler and then turn on the water at just the right moment, we can soak him. There are a lot of different ways to achieve these pranks, but players always need keen observation skills and good timing.
The game has us playing again and again in an attempt to get more familiar with the residents’ routines and therefore figure out how to cause even more mischief. Particularly when played on the Switch, this game makes an excellent pastime for commuters. It’s easy to see how the game has achieved cult status in so little time: the concept is as simple as it is brilliant, and makes for hours upon hours of entertainment. It’s actually more fun than some of the AAA full-price titles that just use loot boxes and expensive DLCs to keep players hooked.
If you like geese, or if you just enjoy tormenting your neighbours in classic Dennis the Menace fashion, we highly recommend playing Untitled Goose Game.
About the game
Untitled Goose Game was created by the Australian video game studio House House. It is the second game produced by the four-person company.