To say “Untitled Goose Game” has become the centerpiece of gaming culture over the two weeks since its release would be an understatement. The Goose is the focus of many memes, stuck into just about every facet of pop culture. People are (jokingly) requesting the Goose be added to Super Smash Bros. Blink-182 gave it a concert shout-out. It’s complete anarchy. But the outstanding, albeit short-lived indie darling deserves no less.
In “Untitled Goose Game,” you are a goose. Your objective is to be as annoying as possible. If that sounds immediately engaging to you, that’s because it is. Above all else, “Untitled Goose Game” encourages play, because everything, even failure, is funny. Objectives aren’t very interested in being a power fantasy or in any kind of stakes — instead, they’re interested in making you giggle. Stealing a gardener’s cabbage without him noticing as a goose is novel and super fun.
Being a goose, there’s little reason for the villagers, whom your objective is to torture, to do anything more than annoyingly shoo you away — which gives ample opportunity for you to walk right back in moments later and start the process over again, cackling the entire time. Or you can just honk at them out of frustration.
The jazz piano soundtrack, which fades in and out over the player’s antics at just the right times, adds so much chaos to on-screen scrambles. “Untitled Goose Game” is a slapstick comedy that lets players rampage through — and it’s just as engaging and fun for people who don’t play games as it is for people who do because of it.
But while “Untitled Goose Game” is a wide sandbox, it’s not exactly a very deep one. When the novelty runs short and the objective list runs dry, there’s not much reason to stay. Stealing keys and running with them or trapping someone in a phone booth is funny the first time, but becomes tedious by the fifth. But that doesn’t wear away at players.
The game knows how long it needs before it makes its exit. In total, the game is maybe five hours long — just long enough to keep its goals entertaining, but not long enough to overstay its welcome. There’s some post-game content, but it doesn’t feel required in the slightest.
The length isn’t super worrying, though; play “Untitled Goose Game” for just a few minutes and it’s immediately refreshing via its focus on comedy rather than power. Whether this game was an hour long or 10 hours long, I would probably have appreciated what it was any way. That’s the best thing I can possibly say for it.