Untitled Goose Game doesn’t have a name yet. That’s why it’s called Untitled Goose Game. But its simple gameplay and undeniably charming style made it one of the standout titles at the Day of the Devs showcase at GDC 2018.
The best way to describe Untitled Goose Game, by Melbourne, Australia-based House House, is that it is a stealth action game about being a nuisance. The game’s website describes its setting as “a lovely weekday morning in the village, and you are a terrible goose.” Set within an idyllic small farm and the surrounding area (including a fountain, garden, and small pond), you control a goose as an antagonistic farmer tries to shoo you away from causing trouble.
The objectives of the game are sparse. Pausing the game brings up a small list of mundane, but achievable tasks. The paths to completing them are varied. “Get the farmer to put on his sunhat”, for example, requires waiting until the farmer takes off his cap to wipe his brow, then scaring him so that he drops his brown cap, stealing it, waddling away at top speed while the farmer tries in vain to catch up, and then waiting until he wanders over toward the shed to grab his sunhat.
While the gameplay feels reminiscent of a game like Goat Simulator in its embrace of freeform objective-solving, the mood is completely different. Soft ambient sounds and occasional piano themes underscore the experience, giving a quiet calm to the mundane chaos spread by your goose avatar. Everything about the game, even in its relatively sparse current state, feels focused and shaped by the atmosphere of a soft summer’s day. There is little outright antagonism, just nuisance.
The animations on the game’s two principal characters are emotive and complex, in comparison to the relatively simple color and artstyle. Both the goose and the farmer use a mix of physics-driven procedural interaction and bespoke animations, leading to hilarious interactions as your goose head extends to grab the farmer’s keys from his waistband or to yank carrots out of their rows.
Untitled Goose Game relishes in the quietly funny and soft moments, but it doesn’t feel like a one-trick pony—er, goose. The current build’s most complex goal (“Have a picnic”) requires multiple steps of adventure-game-style puzzle solving in order to steal all the required objects from their resting places among the farm and place them onto the picnic blanket spread out next to the pond outside of the gate, all without falling under the gaze of the farmer along the way.
Untitled Goose Game is set to release in 2018, though no specific date or platforms have been announced.
Correction: A previous version of this story state Untitled Goose Game was coming to PC. The developers have not actually specified any platforms. The article has been corrected.