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The Switch’s top trending game is about an evil ‘untitled goose’

Everyone’s talking about the indie game that lets you harass an entire village in hilariously petty ways – as a goose.

Sometimes the best kind of experiences are the ones you didn’t know you wanted.

Before the announcement of Untitled Goose Game, an indie hit that was developed by four people and revolves around literally being an annoying goose, I doubt you would have found anyone that would have thought this would work as a full game. Or that anyone would pay for it.

Yet, here we are. The game is currently at the top of the Switch sales chart, beating the first-party remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening to the top spot during its opening week. Youtubers have hopped on board with their own playthroughs and it’s garnered pretty solid reviews so far. Memes about donking and honking have exploded into the zeitgeist too – you’ve probably seen several of them on Reddit’s front page.

So, in case you’ve missed out on this charming indie gem, here’s a quick guide to the game and why it’s been toppling Nintendo’s own work off the number one spot. Be prepared for plenty of antagonistic honking.

How do you play Untitled Goose Game?

As you’d expect, you play as a goose, hell-bent on causing minor inconveniences to unsuspecting village folk. You’re given a sandbox style map to roam around in with trivial objectives such as ‘spray the gardener with his own sprinklers’ or ‘lock the wimpy kid in a phone booth’. How you approach them can vary; some have specific steps you need to take, while others embrace an open style with different outcomes depending on your method. You might creep up on a man reading the newspaper, for example, or you could just loudly honk in his face.

There are five main areas to get through and the game takes around four hours to fully complete. It may not be long, but it’s memorable, and I doubt that winding up villagers minding their own business ever gets boring.

What’s made the game such a success?

According to the developers, the premise of the title was to wreak havoc and cause disruption from the get-go. Speaking to the BBC, Nico Disseldorp explained that using an inconspicuous goose ‘allows people to be this source of mischief that lots of us desire being in video games’. This approach makes sense given the popular influx of open-world style titles in the last decade or so (Fallout, Skyrim, GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Horizon Zero Dawn, to name just a few) that actively encourage organic gameplay and player creativity.

Dynamic approaches to problems within a responsive environment are a hot commodity in video game design, and Untitled Goose Game has this in spades. Some reviewers have even been likening it to the Hitman series – though mostly for its mechanics and not for its tone. Combine all this with its wacky sense of humour and minimal, light-hearted art style, and you’ve got a sure fire hit.

Absurdist indie titles have also grown significantly since the rise of YouTuber Let’s Plays. Off-the-wall games such as Goat Simulator, Octodad, and I Am Bread all offer players completely ridiculous concepts that generate a buzz online for the sheer curiosity factor alone. Untitled Goose Game follows in the footsteps of these titles, offering up a unique setup that isn’t overly complex or heavyweight, but still engaging and interesting. You’re a goose and you’re winding people up in a cosy British village.

Who wouldn’t want to try that out?

Untitled Goose Game is evidence to suggest that originality and zany humour still have a place in video game culture. A truly memorable indie project has the potential to outshine even the most cemented franchises in the business – not even Zelda can beat the goose.

Here’s to more titles like this one causing a stir. We could all find comfort in role-playing as annoying birds in English villagers from time to time.

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