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What we’re obsessed with right now: Untitled Goose Game

A screenshot of Untitled Goose Game, in which you play a goose that annoys people in an English village.
(Sara Butler screen shot of Nintendo Switch )

Be a silly, horrible goose in this indie video game from House House

San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.

What I’m obsessed with: Untitled Goose Game — an indie video game available on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac — developed by House House and released September 2019.

Why? With pandemic restrictions easing, I’m thankful to go outside and hang out with people again — but after a year and a half stuck inside, it’s been an adjustment. I started playing Untitled Goose Game as an anxiety-reducing distraction during quarantine (taking a break from another obsession, Animal Crossing) but now use it to recharge my social battery.

The basics: Untitled Goose Game opens with a goose standing in the middle of the field, sans storyline. As you explore the area, you’re guided through the basic button controls and eventually led to an English village — and that’s where the mischief begins. The game should really be called Horrible Goose Game, as the central tenant is to wreak havoc on the townspeople. Run around the village and use your beak to steal possessions, sneak into gates and annoy everyone.

Be a troublemaker: As a conflict-averse individual and strict rule follower, I find it oddly satisfying to create chaos within the town. But rather than a bloody shootout in games like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, the horrible goose only pains the villagers with minor inconveniences.

Unexpected meditation: Though there are times of stress — my heart rate always spikes when the townspeople catch me red beaked — the puzzle game is quite soothing. Failing to complete a task doesn’t penalize you or deplete your health bar; there’s no way to die. So even when the farmer starts chasing you after you drag his rake into the lake, the stakes are low.

A great escape: Your goose’s objectives, presented in digestible batches, are relatively simple and attainable. Most of the tasks can be completed in any order; crossing off easy ones sometimes tricks me into feeling productive from the couch. And there’s no stress about forgetting what you have to do — all of your objectives are written in cursive on virtual lined notebook paper.

Who should play: Everyone! It’s straight-forward enough for beginners, but I think the indie concept is novel enough for experienced gamers to enjoy. As a casual gamer, it took a decent amount of time for my goose to find its footing, but it’d likely be a quick playthrough for a gaming expert. Plus, the game also has a two player option, so you can keep playing once your social battery is fully charged.

(Untitled Goose Game is available to download for $19.99 online at goose.game or at retailers GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon and EB Games.)


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