Untitled Goose Game is 2019’s ultimate guilty pleasure for any chaotic gamer.
The game’s tagline says it all: it’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose. The independent project by House House took the world by storm with its unique style and subtle charm.
While Untitled Goose Game may be rather short, the sick, sadistic thrill of toying with villagers encourages replayability. The game allows the player to be as creative as they like in their many acts of mischievous vandalism.
Each villager reacts to the goose in unique ways, which adds personality to the otherwise blank faces. The interactions and responses from the townsfolk further encourage delinquency.
To progress, the player must complete an increasingly difficult to-do list. The tasks on this list range from thievery to scaring a boy into a phone box and locking him in. Every act comes with a humorous look of disdain or frustration from the unfortunate victim.
How imaginative the player gets with these tasks is where the true charm of Untitled Goose Game shines. The distinct animations mixed with comedic timing makes for some hilarious moments.
Nothing is more satisfying than slowly lowering a villager’s favourite slipper into a lake as they look on in torment.
But why is playing as an evil goose so fun? What leads players towards those random acts of deviltry? The same question can be asked towards those who (used to) take ladders away in The Sims or go full renegade in Mass Effect.
To the British public, the goose represents the ultimate middle finger from nature. Geese are not only a majestic species, they are also utter psychopaths rivaled only by the swan. In England, if a goose stands in your way, you better hand over your wallet or find another route.
Having the embodiment of evil as the playable character creates a sense of detachment from the gameplay. This idea of disassociation with the goose’s actions, combined with the far off camera angle, coaxes that chaotic player in.
An argument can be made for the psychological effect anonymity has on a person’s behaviour as well. The feeling of being anonymous furthers that instinctual urge when faced with no consequences.
At some point in each gamer’s life, they will come to a moral crossroads. Whether choosing the evil ending in Fable or deciding to kill Paarthurnax in Skyrim, the call towards evil could be driven by achievements, or through roleplay, or simply through boredom. The ability to quicksave and enact acts of intense violence without consequence is enough to tempt the most saintly gamer.
Untitled Goose Game takes all of those temptations and wraps them up in one feathery present. Where some games provide the option for gamers to act chaotically, Untitled Goose Game actively encourages it.
This game is highly recommended for those wanting a bit of cheeky fun at someone else’s expense. The utterly charming and humorous nature of the game makes it one of OnlySP’s favourite single-player moments of 2019.