Game review: Untitled Goose Game, PC/Switch, 8/10
Without succumbing to the pitfall of saccharine-sweetness often happened upon by developers looking to capitalise on gamers' insatiable desire for cutesy games, Untitled Goose Game brings charm and hilarity in abundance, sparing us the hackneyed twee trappings.
How quickly the absurdity of controlling a malevolent hit-goose tapers away should be a testament to the masterful touch of the developers who created the game.
Almost immediately the goose becomes an extension of your will and suddenly the small but lovingly crafted English village becomes a veritable smörgåsbord of ways to hinder and disturb the lives of the hapless residents. Sandbox-style, you'll more than likely find yourself flapping about, honking at random citizens and generally causing mayhem as you ruin picnics, hide rakes, impersonate goose statues and other various atrocities that are likely prohibited by the Geneva Convention.
The objectives presented in Untitled Goose Game are quite loose and sometimes a little cryptic, but there's nothing truly difficult about the game. If anything, the only real difficulty is in the sometimes imprecise way that the Goose will grab things with his beak. It can be a little frustrating to have your delicate Rube Goldberg contraption foiled at the last moment foiled by a ham-fisted peck from the goose. But, then again, it is a goose after all and while they may be famed for their ability to cause mischief, they are perhaps less notorious for their dexterity.
While the art and animation styles are beautiful and it is amazing that the shape and gait of the goose can be so well intimated without any actual shadows, the music and sound effects are really what tie the whole affair together. The patter of the goose's feet and the inexplicably hilarious goose 'honking' are so good that other sound effects probably wouldn't have been necessary.
Luckily, the rather sparse soundboard is of the highest quality and only trumped by the wonderous score accompanying the game. Truly, the way the piano seems to mimic the action on the screen is a work of pure wonder, lending even more hilarity to a game that is already bursting to the brim with it.
Despite all of the above praise, there is one huge complaint that knocks a few points off of Untitled Goose Game's overall score - it is far too short. Whilst the retail price of 15 quid is fairly reasonable, one would also reasonably expect a game longer than about 2 hours for the price. Nevertheless, it is a quality game that will be enjoyed by anyone not in possession of a cold, dead heart.