Deputy Editor Jack Corban shares his take on the newly released Untitled Goose Game.
If you grew up in rural Britain then the sound of webbed feet slapping against cobblestone paths should be all too familiar, followed by the sound of a crying child after the bastard goose from the local duck pond comes and bites the jam sandwich out of his tiny hands. This game truly is the rural village equivalent of Grand Theft Auto, I hated this goose, but in the same way I’m not keen on murderous gangsters or war, there is a strange satisfaction of actually playing out the fantasy of being said bastard goose.
Yes, you play as a goose (shocking, I know), and in Untilted Goose Game you have simply one objective, ruin the day of every person you see. It’s a simple puzzle game where you must use your goose powers of squawking obnoxiously and grabbing things with your beak to fill out a series of objectives on a checklist. Objectives like “get the gardener wet” or the far crueler “make someone buy back their own stuff”. I am aware I said there was only one objective, but if it wasn’t clear these, and every other objective in this game, are summed up in one very simple aforementioned goal.
Weirdly enough I never pondered how it would feel to play as a goose in a video game, and how accurately a video game could create the goose fantasy that no one has ever actually had or asked for. It’s sort of a “I didn’t know I needed this until I had it” situation, and just like that very situation, Untitled Goose Game provides an enjoyable sensation of something completely new with some very entertaining abilities. Want to spread your wings menacingly as you charge at a pedestrian like the bane of children you are? Well of course you can! Or my personal favourite “piss off my flatmate” honk button, which as you can imagine emits a very annoying honking sound from the goose's mouth.
It should be noted that Untitled Goose Game is more of a gimmick game than anything, but not a bad one! These kinds of games that are more of a joke than a game, that seem intended with the aim of simply trending with YouTubers like I am Toast. However where Untitled Goose Game succeeds is the joke is actually funny and doesn’t just feed off being random, it is a fairly accurate depiction of rural life with some brilliant slapstick comedy thrown in there. In truth, a goose is the worst kind of monster you would find in such a peaceful village, well that and casual racism, but the game doesn't have any dialogue.
I have heard some complaints about the game's length, and it’s true that it’s short, but I’ve played triple-a games for triple the price with the same length of Untitled Goose Game. Also, considering the games gimmicky nature, keeping it short and sweet was probably a good call, as much fun as I had, I was glad that the game didn’t drag on much further. On paper, the idea of the goose moving onto terrorize another area sounds great, but keeping it confined to the locale of the small village made the whole situation seem a lot more hilarious and accurate; funny because it’s true. And I do stress that this game is essentially a prolonged interactive joke, right down to including a fantastic punch-line. At first, I struggled to get into the mindset of someone who would create a game with such a niche idea, but I think I have a good theory. I believe the person who created this game likely grew up in a rural village just like the one in Untitled Goose Game. They hated growing up there and lived their teenage life in constant rebellion in their desire to move and escape village tedium. In their adult life, they created a game where you can finally let out all that teenage angst you had been repressing in order to escape the neighbourhood watch. Why a goose? I’m personally thinking it’s the batman approach, as a kid some bastard goose stole the jam sandwich out of they’re tiny hands, so they’ve adopted the thing that scares them most in order to scare those who he feels wronged him. That or they just like Benny Hill.