SEATTLE – When I first walked by Untitled Goose Game during Nintendo's indie games showcase, I assumed that the developers were still working on a name. But no; Untitled Goose Game is really what the game's called, and if you like that kind of abstract humor, you're probably going to love the rest of it, too.
In this game, you play as a meddlesome goose, who has a long list of havoc to wreak. To do so, you'll have to use stealth, problem-solving and copious amounts of honking.
The first thing I saw when I picked up was a white English goose, rendered in a gentle, watercolor style next to an idyllic pond. The second thing I saw was a tutorial that read, "Press Y to honk." Clearly, this game front-loads the important stuff.
After checking my list of objectives (the goose has surprisingly neat cursive handwriting), I had a lot to do: find my way into a farmer's garden, get the farmer wet, make the farmer put on a hat, dump the farmer's rake into the pond, and so forth. Whatever the farmer did to this goose, it must have been extreme, because the goose is out for vengeance.
Luckily, it's simple to annoy the farmer, if not necessarily easy. In addition to honking, you can also run, grab small items, and bend down to drag larger ones. You can run at full tilt with, say, a jar of jam in your beak, but you need to keep the farmer distracted while you drag his prized rake away and dump it into the lake for absolutely no reason.
Well, almost no reason. I talked to one of the developers behind Untitled Goose Game and asked about the inspiration behind the game. He replied, simply enough, that "geese are horrible."
Geese exist almost everywhere in the world, and every culture has the same complaints about them: they're noisy, they're pests, they're aggressive, and they're just plain mean. House House, the studio behind Untitled Goose Game, just thought it'd be fun to see things from the goose's perspective for once – and I have to admit that it is.
That's because Untitled Goose Game is, at its heart, a very relaxed simulation/puzzle game with a good sense of humor. (Think a less zany version of Goat Simulator, and you've got the right idea.) There's a bit of stealth, as you evade the farmer, and a bit of creative thinking as you manipulate him into things like opening the gate, or splashing himself with water. But Untitled Goose Game is more about the off-kilter premise which, in my experience, is extremely entertaining in 15-minute bursts.
Untitled Goose Simulator will be out for PC and Switch in early 2019. Until then, you can find geese at your local duck pond – or, if you're feeling vindictive, at your local butcher shop.