You know how the saying goes: everything is better with memes! Or was it that nothing is better with memes? Either way, somebody made a run-and-gun game starring a goose, and now I’m going to talk about it for several paragraphs. Mighty Goose is a throwback to games like Contra and Metal Slug. It isn’t nearly as difficult as either of those, but it successfully captures the feel and balls-to-the-wall action that they had in spades. It’s not especially lengthy and doesn’t do anything to try and move the genre forward, but it’s an enjoyable action game in its own right.
Mighty Goose is, again, about a goose. I said that already. It’s also in the name. I’m just repeating myself at this point. Our titular hero is an intergalactic bounty hunter chasing after some bad space dude whose name I already forgot. While chasing down leads, he goes toe to toe with a crow that made me think of Psy-Crow from Earthworm Jim. What? I’m talking about a game starring an anthropomorphic animal who shoots guns in space. How could I not mention the groovy one himself? It’s all silly, and sometimes there are random close-ups of the goose making a ridiculous face in the middle of a level. HONK.
Speaking of honks, you can make the goose honk by pressing the special button, but only if you have the honk equipped. But you don’t want to have the honk equipped because it doesn’t do a goddamn thing. You know the drill here. You pick from one of Mighty Goose‘s levels from a map that’s presented as traveling to different locations in the goose’s ship. Once the level starts, you move to the right while shooting everything in your path. It’s a run-and-gun shooter; you know how those work.
Honk if you, wait, I just told you not to do that
The goose’s default weapon is a pistol. As you murder everything in your path, enemies will drop weapon pickups. Mighty Goose uses Metal Slug rules for these. Once you pick up a weapon, whether it be a shotgun, machine gun, or missile launcher, you’ll have a certain amount of shots you can fire. Once you’re out of bullets, you go back to the pistol. There are also some vehicles that the goose can ride, such as a tank, a mech, and a speeder bike. This game is so ’90s, isn’t it?
The levels themselves are colorful, varied, and fun to move around in. The controls are also excellent, as they’re responsive and feel just as good as the games Mighty Goose apes. Some levels end in boss battles, as well. I found that the levels themselves are typically well designed, although I had some issues occasionally. One level, for instance, has spiders drop on you from above. The only way to not get hit by them is to either have super fast reflexes, or more likely, to memorize where they spawn. These types of games have always had some memorize-y sections, sure, but they feel out of place in Mighty Goose.
That’s mostly because the game’s difficulty stays at a pretty consistent 6/10 for the duration. It’s challenging enough that you’ll die if you get too sloppy, but forgiving enough that you don’t have to be an ace at the genre to see the credits. The goose can take four hits before dying, but enemies routinely drop healing items, so you can get back on your feet even if you’re in seriously dire straits. This is furthered by Mighty Goose‘s super meter. After attacking enough, it’ll fill up and you can open a massive can of whoop-ass on everything around you.
The super is even more useful than it sounds though. Once you activate it, you become invincible and do extra damage. But the meter reduces more slowly while you’re doing damage, meaning that you can keep it going for a while as long as you’re able to attack fast enough. The super state also changes the spread of your attacks. If you’re using the pistol and shooting as quickly as you can, the super won’t last all that long. But if you’re using the machine gun? Hoo boy, you can keep it going for as long as your bullets last.
And, believe me, you can make those bullets last. Enemies in Mighty Goose drop coins, but you can only use them within a level, as they vanish once you clear the stage. You can use these coins to buy weapons and vehicles. Since vehicles have a different health bar altogether, you can use this to extend your life during sections, which can really help if you’re struggling during a boss battle. Additionally, that means you can use your super to shoot the machine gun nonstop during a boss battle, resulting in the super state lasting longer. You then call for another machine gun pickup and grab it once you’re out. Bam, even longer super.
That’s not the end of what you can use for help in Mighty Goose. As you progress through the levels, you’ll find new abilities. These operate on cooldowns and can be used for secondary weapon attacks, summons, or general support. There’s one that lets you throw explosives, another that calls forth characters to help, and one that just straight-up fills your super gauge. The goose can also be joined by a helper character. These have different abilities. The first is regular duck, and he doesn’t do shit. But others can drop ammo, while some are more for extra DPS. A couple of them are hidden, too.
You can hit the credits in Mighty Goose after 90-120 minutes, depending on your skill and if you go back to replay levels. The game culminates in a multi-phase boss battle that is tough-ish, but very doable. But then the real fun starts. Harder versions of all of the game’s stages will show up. You can go through these again, but each will actually be tough.
Mighty Goose is a damn good game that neatly scratches the run-and-gun itch, all while keeping things moving with strong level design, zany action, and tight gameplay. If that’s up your alley, I’d recommend trying it out.