Before it’s release World of Goo wasn’t even on my radar. For the most part I keep myself informed of happenings in the video game industry and I know when all the new releases are scheduled to come out. Off the top of my head, I could probably tell you the release dates for most of the AAA title coming out this fall. Yet some how this indie title, available on the PC or through Wii Ware, never caught my attention. I almost missed it and that would have been a shame.
The World of Goo is the brain child of a few guys at 2D Boy, an independent game developer, and in the first hour of play it oozed charm and charisma on top of an additively simple yet satisfying gameplay mechanic. World of Goo is best described as a puzzle game. The format is standard; each level has a goal that must be completed to move on. The goal usually centers around using your goo balls to reach a pipe so the other goo balls can escape through it.
Using the goo provided effectively is where the challenge comes in. The game eased me in and within a few minutes I felt completely comfortable with the game’s simple gameplay mechanics. In a level you have a certain number of Goo balls which can be connected to other goo balls to assemble structures. Take a look at this visual as it will help you understand my explanation.
In the picture the goo ball on the top with the white lines connecting to it is the one the player is holding. All you do is click on a goo ball and move it near the existing structure. The white lines show where the connections will form once you unclick the goo ball. So all you do is move it into place, let go, and it connects.
Strategy becomes imperative to overcome the games physics based puzzles. The goo ball towers and chains the player builds aren’t completely solid. The connections have a rubbery feel to them. They aren’t flimsy, but as you build your structure up or sideways it will start to bend and sway from the pressure. Push it too far and it will break or tip over. Also, unused goo balls crawl around on the structure. Their position and weight as they crawl around the structure can cause problems when they change the structures center of gravity.
The levels center around using the goo balls to create a structure that allows the unused goo balls crawling around on the structure to reach an exit pipe. There is a goal of a certain number or type of goo balls you have to get to the pipe to pass the level. This means you often have to be efficient with how you use the goo balls. Goo balls that are part of the structure can’t exit through the pipe. You will want to reinforce your structure in every way you can, but to do so will leave you with not enough goo balls left to get to the exit pipe. It creates an brilliant tension of dangling on the edge of a cliff while trying to get your goo to the edge without falling over.
There are also puzzle elements beside just dealing with the perils of gravity. Often the levels will have obstacles and traps that you must work around. There are different types of goo balls with different properties.
The presentation in World of Goo is fantastic. The graphics aren’t cutting edge and high-resolution, but they always managed to appear polished and stylish. Within minutes of firing up the game I was charmed and knew the creators of this game had a vision that stayed consistent throughout the entire development process.
This game is brilliant. Each new level offered new challenges while building on what I had experienced previously. It never felt repetitive. Also the levels are fairly short. Most can probably be completed in 5-10 minutes. This is a game I could see myself killing a half hour with when I have a little but of spare time, but more likely I will put aside large chunks of time to spend with it. Each level also has a challenge, on top of the regular goals of the level. I can see this adding a lot of replay value. The challenge is usually to beat the level in a certain number of turns or with-in a certain time. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m the type who would find them maddeningly addictive. In the end, it scares me that I could have missed this game. It’s too good to miss.
9 out of 10
you can also read the review here