The honking never gets old. It’s one thing I thought would happen with Untitled Goose Game, a game in which you, a goose, make all the humans in a town really hate you. But after hours of honking about, I never stopped laughing. Every honk is hilarious, every waddle is a delight and, if you’re not sure what to do, just honk a lot until you decide to get back on task.
House House is very clear about one thing: Untitled Goose Game does not have a name. It is simply an untitled game about a goose. And for a while, that’s all we knew about the game, which officially hit platforms on Friday. The initial teaser trailer seemed built for absurdist love in a world gone viral, though few details were actually given about the game. Could the entire point be to mess with people, honking and grabbing things with your beak?
Yes. And it’s really damn fun.
Before we get to gameplay I have to make clear just how hilarious this game is: it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever played. Geese are inherently funny-looking, and that translates to audible laughter as you move your “terrible” goose around. I found myself involuntarily laughing as I poked around trying to solve puzzles, or even just waddling from place to place. It’s truly fun to plop your goose on the canal and tool around, and the animations are charming and funny. Play Untitled Goose Game with an audience, they’ll be just as entertained as the person holding the controller.
I’ve always defaulted to playing the Good Guy in a game if given the choice, so there’s something really refreshing about being an evil agent wrapped up in such a funny package. As the goose, you waddle about, honking and flapping and occasionally lowering your neck to grab things and run away. Once you get your goose bearings, you’re given a list of tasks to accomplish, and you set out doing them in any way you choose. All of these tasks are about ruining a human’s day. Some tasks have a more linear path — to get the farmer wet, you have to get him near the sprinkler and turn it on.
But how you get him there? That’s up to you, and many things on the list are vague enough that you have to figure it out for yourself. There’s an open-ended aspect here that offers a lot of replay options as you come up with new ideas throughout the game.
Thankfully there’s no morality at play here with Untitled Goose Game, just pure fun. There’s no reason to bully a young boy who just wants to play with a soccer ball, but it’s also hilarious to trap him in a phone booth just because it’s on the To-Do List. It’s all in good, clean fun. And as you check things off your To-Do List, additional tasks might pop up that, when executed, allow you to access new areas of town and keep the chaos rolling.
The biggest task on each list is to steal a small collection of things and put them in the same place, with some items harder than others to sneak away unnoticed. I never thought the phrase “goose espionage” would come up in a video game, but it’s what I thought when I dragged away a loud radio to keep the farmer occupied long enough to double back and steal his thermos, cackling the entire time.
With this many moving objects and drawn effects, it’s inevitable that items don’t work as normal physics imply. Occasionally the goose’s feet will push a rake forward as you walk or items glitch through others. Sometimes, in an effort to avoid a human, you two will spin around in a circle, a glitchy but still funny dance of mortal enemies. And it’s often hard to know if you really got close enough to jangle someone’s keys away or if you actually got lucky with the timing of it all. But the occasional hangups are rare and resetting is easy: things get tidied up, but you won’t lose progress on your list.
As you move around town and grab things, piano music accompanies the action — sometimes frantic, other times meandering. It really adds to the fun and also warns you when people are getting close or suspicious of your shenanigans. The small touches the game brings really complete the overall experience and make you far more forgiving about, well, everything.
When you resume play after leaving the game, for example, the camera will start on the others in town until you Press Y To Honk and announce yourself, the camera suddenly jumping to where you were previously off-screen. If you idle in place, your goose will waggle its tail a little bit, as idle geese are wont to do. Your goose’s movements are so lifelike and fluid and silly that just wandering around is entertaining enough. It’s hard to get frustrated when you’re a freaking goose.
Untitled Goose Game is delightful to play, fun to watch, and the graphics really are lovely. If that checks all the boxes for you, as it does for me, you’re in for a honking good time. One concern I had when I started playing was just how much of a game was in Untitled Goose Game but the answer, for me, is more than enough. It gets more challenging (and rewarding) as you progress through town, and it was genuinely fun to double back and make the farmer or shopkeeper upset all over again. One of my best experiences playing the game was handing the controller to a friend and having them start over at the beginning, watching their goose figure out how to terrorize on their own through laughs.
For such a terrible goose, it sure does bring a lot of joy. Just not to the people in one very specific town.