No longer are Nintendo hiding behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and promises. At their massive PAX display this year, Nintendo offered PAX attendees hands-on opportunities with a huge range of current and soon to be released Switch games. Weirdly, the most exciting part is that over half the Switch games Nintendo showed off were not even Nintendo original IP. Finally, confirmation that the Nintendo Switch will boast the games library it deserves.
Expectedly, lines for Let’s Go, Eevee/ Pikachu! And Super Smash Brothers: Ultimate snaked around the convention floor. But there was also considerable interest in the third-party games. One in particular that was drawing a crowd, was Untitled Goose Game (from developer Victorian-based developer House House). It wasn’t enough to take a gander, I had to go hands-on with the ten-minute demo.
Untitled Goose Game is a single-player, sandbox game centred around a goose and its adventures around town. As the goose, players must complete a checklist of tasks in each area. In the demo, this included stealing a rake from a gardener and throwing it in the lake. You know, classic goose things.
The title itself (which better not just be a working title) speaks to the humourous nature of the game. This, along with the devil may care attitude of the goose – conveyed through obnoxious honking, persistent stealing, and waddling – won me over immediately. “Gardener took the radio back? Now it’s in the lake. Your move, I’m just paddling like a boss.”
The extent of your control over the goose is limited. The goose can only grab items with its beak, crouch, paddle in the lake, drag items around and honk at townspeople. Seems… Pathetic. But, have you ever been honked at by a goose? They rate somewhere between swan and duck in the Anatidae family in terms of intimidation factor. Not scary enough to be professionally dealt with, but not mild enough to be dismissed.
Consequently, the gardener’s relationship with the goose can only be described as careful endearment. If you’re caught stealing property, the gardener will simply take it off you and continue working… warily. He is incredibly gentle with the goose, despite being entitled to thinking that the goose is an annoying trespasser and disruptive, destructive Anserinae-hole. Maybe the gardener realises that the goose just wants to set up and enjoy a nice picnic.
In many ways, this game is a stealth, puzzler. Avoiding the gardener, and stealing or moving objects in the right order is the key to checking off tasks on your list. It’s all very G-rated. There don’t seem to be any other consequences for failure than… having to try again.
The graphics are simple, but this is a positive because it complements the simple gameplay AND means you don’t have to strain your eyes to differentiate features when using the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear the music (if any) or sound effects (if any) because the noise of the PAX show floor was all-encompassing.
I look forward to honking at people all around the town (and hopefully, hearing it) when the game is released during Quarter 1 of 2019.