Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Indie Nation #35: World of Goo

4:48 PM on 10.10.2008 // Anthony Burch

It's not technically out until Monday, but World of Goo is so awesome that I just plain didn't want to wait to talk about it. I was initially exposed to it during GDC, and though I found it marginally interesting, it wasn't anywhere near the top of my mental "do want" list.

Now that I've actually played the full game, however, I see that it really should have been. 

It hits PC and WiiWare this Monday. You can visit the official site for details, or hit the jump to read my impressions on what, in my opinion, still manages to be one of the coolest indie games of the 2008 despite sharing hard drive space with both Braid and Castle Crashers.

First off, any screenshot one might conceivably find of World of Goo, no matter how awesome the puzzle it depicts, will look boring and pointless. If you're likely to subliminally judge games based on the quality of their screenshots, then please don't be dissuaded by the fact that individual stills from the game look like the virtual equivalent of watching paint dry.

Secondly, in my original almost-hands-on impressions from GDC, I said this:

"Since the game is so realistic, though, this means two things: it looks really damned difficult, and really slow-paced. I do not, however, mean these as insults. World of Goo seems difficult and thoughtful in the same way LEGO blocks are; it takes a very special degree of effort and thoughtfulness to make what you want to make really well, but this ultimately makes the final product much more satisfying. It also means that, since the game requires such internal deliberation, it can be tedious to watch."

I was pretty much wrong on every single count (but that's what happens when you base your impressions on watching an inept fat chick play the same level over and over again for 45 minutes straight without realizing what she's doing wrong). World of Goo is not slow-paced, not really damned difficult, and certainly not tedious. It is, in fact, a wonderfully exuberant mix of deliberative construction, lateral-thinking puzzles, and quick reflexes. And Internet memes.

If you've played Tower of Goo, the free downloadable prototype, you're already familiar with the game's main mechanic. By connecting little balls of black goo together, the player can build towers, bridges, chains, or whatever. The goo physics are so incredibly precise and intelligent that what could have been a really, really boring construction game turns into something truly fun -- level by level, you'll gradually learn the ins and outs of goo architecture, and as the game asks you to do progressively more unusual and imaginative things with the goo, your understanding of the physics engine is constantly stretched and expanded and contorted until what seemed impossible at the beginning of the game  becomes second nature in comparison to the stuff you're asked to do near the end.

This isn't to suggest that the entire game is built around the simple act of building goo structures, however. That would get old pretty quickly. No, what makes World of Goo so goddamned incredible is that in every level -- in every single level -- the designers show you something totally new, whether it's a new goo ball, a new item, or a totally new scenario for goo-building that challenges your conceptions of what is possible with the physics engine.

For instance, you'll spend the first few levels building towers and bridges to get your goo balls from one end of the map to the other. It's sufficiently difficult and very interesting at that point of the game, to be sure, but World of Goo isn't happy to just let you sit and relax. Instead, a few levels later, the game again forces you to build a goo tower from the bottom of the screen to the goal at the top...only this time, your goo tower is inside a constantly tumbling, octagonal room that cannot be stopped or slowed. What was previously a purely strategic exercise now requires quick thinking, and precise timing. Simply by adding a big washing-machine room, your entire approach to the gameplay is turned on its head.

I don't want to go into some of the later levels or goo balls or mechanics World of Goo throws at you as that'd spoil the fun, but it has to be said that the game is never content to just sit back and rest on its laurels, challenging the player with slightly harder versions of the same situations. I can't decide whether World of Goo is totally fearless, or just has the most wonderful case of Attention Deficit Disorder in history -- though it's only a few hours long, every level is incredibly individual, enjoyable, and constantly surprising.

Not to mention that, since the game is more concerned about showing you really cool and interesting things than throwing infuriatingly difficult challenges at you just for the sake of doing so, it never feels frustrating or unfair. If you lose a level, it will almost always be because your approach is flawed, not your execution (if you've found yourself frustrated with Portal Prelude's constantly forcing you to get jumps exactly right and put portals in the exact correct place in order to proceed, then World of Goo is the answer). When I first saw footage of the game, I was positive I'd be horrendous at it, but it turns out that the level design and physics are so intuitive that you'll never get frustrated for very long. Hell, even if you do, you can use one of a limited number of level skips just so you can see the rest of the game.

People will complain about the length and the lack of ball-busting difficulty, but if you enjoyed Braid and Portal (and if you didn't, then what the fuck is wrong with you) then the "quality, not quantity" and "interesting, not pointlessly obtuse" length and puzzle sensibilities will be familiar and satisfying. Also, the graphics, music, and what little story there is are really, really goddamn good. So, there's that.

World of Goo comes out on WiiWare and pretty much every PC distribution service under the sun this Monday.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention -- the PC version has no DRM whatsoever. I often tend to threaten bodily harm to anyone who would think about pirating an indie game, but I don't think I really need to with World of Goo: the creators (all two of them) respect the gaming audience so goddamn much that they didn't even bother putting copy protection on their game. If you've been angry at the SecuROM nonsense, then put your money where your mouth is and buy World of Goo legally. Lord knows the guys at 2DBoy deserve it.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I would really, really love if "publish now" could work without me having to post a blog multiple because the site is such a mess right now.
fitzen avatarfitzen
I got it all the way back in spring, but I still haven't finished Majoras Mask. Think I've done the first temple.. It's hard not knowing where to go. All those linear corridors and objective markers in games has made me dumb and impatient.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
A weekend open forum posted every Friday night would be really cool, at least until we get real forums again.
Parismio avatarParismio
Went snowboarding for the first time in years. Crashed a lot, many times into trees. All that training in FF7 didnt do squat!
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
If I were to get Age of Empires II HD to play with you all, do you all have the DLC?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I am relieved to know Creed is a Rocky spin-off and not a feature-length documentary about the band.
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
the worst thing about that jesssica jones program is i keep getting "basketball jones" stuck in my head
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Been playing Gears of War 3's campaign on Xbox One. Looks great on there, and Sam's voice actor is Chloe's voice actor in Uncharted 2/3. Hell yeah!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -