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Play This! 'Untitled Goose Game'

What has been the most eagerly anticipated video game for the past few years? The Last Of Us Part II perhaps? The Breath Of The Wild sequel? Not for me! The game I instantly fell in love with when it was first revealed at E3 a couple of years back (and I know I was not alone) is Untitled Goose Game- a most unlikely idea for a game.

After a lengthy wait, the game was finally released for download on the Nintendo Switch and PC (currently as an Epic Store exclusive) on September 20. The game was originally revealed with the Untitled monikor, but I can only assume that it became so widely associated with the placeholder title that Melbourne, Australia based developer House House decided to keep it.

The game has a simple strapline, which also doubles up as much of a storyline as the game needs. "It's a lovely day in the village, and you are a horrible goose". The player finds themselves in the shoes (flippers?) of the (un)titular goose as they waddle around a picturesque English village, causing chaos for the hapless villagers.

Firstly, the feathered menace comes to a garden, lovingly watched over by a trusty groundskeeper. The game gives you a to-do list of tasks that must be achieved to complete the area. Firstly you have to get in the garden, and once inside, more micschieveious tasks include stealing the groundkeeper's keys and getting him wet. Each location also has a task which involves gathering together a number of jobs ("have a picnic" means gathering together various items and placing them on the picnic blanket). Complete enough of the tasks, and you'll unlock new items and open up new areas.

Later on, you'll move to a high street, villagers back gardens and a pub, each unlocking a whole new set of tasks to do and villagers to mess with. Highlights include trapping a defenceless child in a phonebox, making an old man "fall on his bum" and getting dressed up in a fancy ribbon.

The game's influences are unexpected, as this is essentially a stealth game. It's like Metal Gear Solid or Hitman with more feathers and less murder. The Goose often has to avoid being seen, and puzzles are often solved by distracting people by moving objects around, pulling a switch or making a diversion. There's multiple ways to achieve your objectives and creativity is encouraged.

Animation always plays a big part in games, but in Untitled Goose Game, it's absolutely the star of the show. The game has a lovely, minimal art style (the humans lack facial features) that perfectly suits the nature of the whole affair. It's a masterful piece of dialogue-free storytelling, where the character animation tells you everything you need to know. There's never any doubt what the characters are thinking or what's going on.

The slapstick humour is also extremely universal. It plays well to audiences everywhere and of all ages.

And as for the goose herself (if it was a he, surely it would be Untitled GANDER Game?) a place among video game icons is assured for this feathery agent of chaos. The minute it first waddles onto screen you'll be smitten. Running around with random objects in your beak, honking at villagers is hours of fun. In a medium with infinite possibilities, I'm not sure I can explain why one of the most entertained I've been is playing as an adorable goose running away with a bra from a housewife's washing line- but it's true.

Probably in a medium so often reliant on violence, and with moving towards cinematic experiences, it's refreshing for a game to be so charming and innocent, and which revels in just being a game. Especially in times when the outside world is often so confusing and full of horrors. It's also a game without serious consequences- the worst that happens if you get caught is you might need to start a task again.

Hopefully, the game will soon roll out on other platforms as everyone deserves to get to be a horrible goose. HONK HONK!