Independent developers make up one of the fastest growing groups pushing out some of the most creative ideas in all of gaming. For the most part indie games are unpolished, not great to look at, and lacking of the more clear understanding of how to execute on what drives a good experience with a game. But that’s all perfectly okay because the indie scene serves two purposes. First it functions as a place for aspiring developers to cut their teeth and learn the ropes before taking their ideas up to the big leagues. And Second the inherently smaller audience that comes with the indie scene allows for developers to pursue the types of games they want to make as opposed to whatever flavor of the week the publisher overlords are pursuing on any given day. But on the rarest of occasions we get an indie game that hits both the indie level of creativity and the triple A level of polish and completeness making for some seriously memorable experiences. Untitled Goose Game is a shockingly unique experience with the uncanny ability to appeal to and be loved by almost anyone, the game is a breath of fresh air that can only come from an indie studio and easily a new contender for the unspoken title "King of the Indies."
Welcome welcome welcome everyone welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series in which I get to talk about the games I've been playing and what I think of the medium as a whole. Several weeks ago I couldn’t help but succumb to the temptation of the Honk so I bought and played Untitled Goose Game, let's talk about it.
For the uninitiated Untitled Goose Game is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It's a game where you play as a goose and it doesn’t have a title. The premise of the game is simple, if you’ve ever had an interaction with a goose you will know that geese are real jerks and are basically always out trying to cause the most amount of mischief possible while still being seen in a positive light by the general public. Geese are jerks and this game is a jerk simulator. Untitled Goose Game puts the player in the role of a goose causing trouble in a sleepy English village while trying to steal yet another bell for it's stash. The goose is a thief and not a good person and it should be treated as such.
Alright alright on the surface goose game is a game about being a goose but what that really is is an extremely clever disguise for a puzzle game. The Developer House House uses this setting and anti-hero to string together a series of puzzles that are easily believable as those that might trouble a real goose throughout his daily life. Just like real life the gooses goals range from the simple like "get the groundskeeper wet" to the more complex like "steal a pint glass and drop it in the canal" but the beauty of all of these objectives is that they are each their own individual puzzle to be solved using the environment around the goose.
Goose game is really good, like really really good. But what is it that makes the game so good and deserving of not only my but so many other peoples praise? Well it's actually a combination of a few different things. The game functions as a master class in curving the difficulty of gameplay. At the outset of the game the player and the goose possess all the abilities they will have throughout, the game will get no more complex or intricate through new abilities making the goose's development be purely based on the players understanding of the puzzles presented to them. In the first area of the game the player is given menial tasks like "Get into the garden" or the infamous "rake in the lake." These tasks are simple enough and fairly uninvolved when it comes to interpreting and figuring out what the game wants before carrying that out. But as the game progresses so does the complexity of the tasks perfectly matching the pace at which the players understand of the games intricacies develop until eventually the player is doing things like "drop a bucket on the burly man's head" and "be awarded a flower" with as much understanding and efficiency as the earlier tasks.
And not only is the difficulty curve masterfully crafted and well pace but the actual content of the puzzles is incredibly well done as well. Not only is the player never spending to long doing any one particular thing but just before any area starts to feel worn out or overused the game shuffles the player along into the next area leaving me at least with nothing but good memories of every area. Geese have a lot of mischief to make and a lot of places to make it.
And that mischief is the final ingredient in the recipe of what makes goose game so enjoyable. The game is just straight up funny and that funniness is constant. The humor doesn’t come and go in waves but is consistently giving its audience a reason to grin or chuckle slightly. While there's really only one big laugh in the game that comes as the end of a well tuned crescendo the entire game is funny to the point that looking back on how often I was doing something I thought was funny its easy to consider the game hilarious.
I don’t consider this a perfect game and based on reviews I don’t think many other people do. But what seems to be the biggest complaint held against it by many reviewers is the length. Critics and audiences alike seem to be saying that the game is to short which is understandable as it's only natural to want more of a good thing. But I don’t agree with this sentiment, I don’t think the game's length is something to be held against it, in fact I think that the short length of the game is indicative of House House being a developer that knows when to say stop. The main to do list takes just a couple of hours and the to do as well list adds another couple hours onto that but at just 4-6 hours of gameplay this is a game that is ripe for some DLC adventures. The introduction of a few new puzzle areas with the inclusion possibly a cooperative mode with a Canadian goose friend is something I would pay more for than House House asked for the base game. Length is a difficult thing to get just right and while I don’t think goose game is the perfect length I do think it's always smarter to leave your audience hungry for more than it is to overstay ones welcome.
In a word goose game is fantastic. It is easily one of the most charming and enjoyable gaming experience I've had this year. Coming from a studio of just four people House House was able to make goose game the game they wanted it to be and what resulted was an indie title on par with the likes of Super Meat Boy, Hotline Miami, Journey, and Owlboy.
What do you guys think of the possibility of a goose game sequel and what would you want to see from it? Let me know in the comments down below. And while youre down there don’t forget to subscribe and click that bell icon for notifications to be sent to you whenever we post a new video. You can see everything we do including both of our podcasts all in one spot over at ColdNorthPro.com, Ill be back next week talking about the often forgot Crash Bandicoot game so until then just go play some games.
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