John Holdun

Untitled Goose Game

Amy and I played through the entirety of Untitled Goose Game on New Year’s Eve (and finished the final sequence a little after midnight on New Year’s Day). It was every bit as delightful as I hoped it would be. Spoilers for the game follow!

It’s been a long time since I’ve played a local multiplayer game, and I was really glad that we could start this one off that way and continue through to the end. The title screen during the intro changes to say Untitled Geese Game, which was one of many thoughtful little touches.

This is the first video game Amy has played in many years, and the way the controls are introduced as part of play worked so well. I wasn’t sure she’d be into it, but she started honking and flapping like right away.

The fact that the “game” of the game is a to-do list is really smart. It almost feels optional, like if you just want to wander around the first area, that’d be fine. It felt very low-stress throughout, except when we started putting our own emotional investment into finishing the challenges (and, for example, terrorizing the poor child who’s afraid of the geese).

I really liked seeing how the paths criss-crossed in different ways, and being able to open gates that we’d passed by previously was always satisfying. I wish there were more reasons to backtrack, although it looks like they introduced some of that in the extra post-ending to-do items (which we browsed but didn’t try).

The controls and mechanics mostly felt pretty good. The fact that certain things changed the honk, like the glass bottle and harmonica, was so funny to me. I’m pretty sure that raising your wings never had any impact on gameplay, which was fine—I would have liked even more purely-cosmetic controls that are just for playing. Amy put on the ribbon in that backyard mission and I accidentally pecked it away right after we finished that mission, but more costume opportunities would have been cute.

It never got tired just beholding these two little waddlers making their way across town.

The miniature town was a perfect ending, being able to review all the places that we’d been. Of course that wasn’t really the ending, but just the beginning of the finale. The fact that there was a more-miniature town inside the miniature town was amazing. I loved that the neighbors were still arguing about the ruined rose when we came back through their yards.

I can see myself coming back to this in the future solo, just to play some more. I would have enjoyed more locations but the pace and overall duration also felt just about right—we were pretty close to calling it a night just before it became clear that things were culminating. Good job, Untitled Goose Game!