Review – World of Goo

October 28, 2008 — Leave a comment

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

Do you remember when you were a child, and you would play with goo?

You would roll it, mold it, marvel at how sticky and easy to shape it is.

Then you would stack a bunch of it together to form crazy goo structures in order to reach a pipe that would help the goo escape imprisonment as a giant corporation’s test subjects and enjoy life as a peaceful, life-loving goo species.

No?

Then either you had an abnormal childhood, or maybe “World of Goo” for the Wii and PC isn’t as based on reality as I thought.

The premise of “World of Goo” is absurdly simple: drag and drop goo droplets in order to connect them to each other to form goo structures. These structures are built with the sole purpose of reaching an exit pipe at the end of the level.

The pipe could be high in the air – forcing you to build up – or across a chasm – forcing you to build sideways – or a large number of crazy locations.

And as you build, things aren’t at all steady. Your goo towers will wobble, if they don’t simply fall over. Your goo bridges will sink, causing you get be creative in how you create everything.

The entire game is in 2D, and while the art style is extremely appealing to look at, the game’s first impression on a casual onlooker may be that everything is too simple. It may strike them as an interesting experiment or a nice physics demo.

In truth, it’s one of the most engrossing puzzle games in years.

As the levels progress, situations just get crazier and crazier, forcing you to sometimes get quite creative in how you manage your goo droplets.

When you get even further in the game, more and more different species of goo make themselves known. Rather than just connecting green goo droplets, you might find yourself creating a chain of red goo and lighting it on fire to blow up a wall.

All of this gameplay is extraordinarily solid. Everything just seems to work the way you want it to, and the controls are extremely easy to pick up, considering you essentially use one button.

On top of good and highly addicting gameplay, though, “World of Goo” has a lot of charm. Music can be decidedly epic, which somehow seems to fit really well in a game about little balls of goo.

There is also quite a bit of humor to the story (what little there is of it), and some of the hint signs you read during the game may even make you laugh out loud.

What’s hard to believe is that “World of Goo” was developed by a team of only three guys. One of whom wasn’t with the other two for the entire project. The game’s design, polish, and aesthetic are reminiscent of a game Nintendo themselves would make and be praised for.

If there’s any downside to “World of Goo,” it’s that the adventure eventually ends. And when it does, there aren’t a ton of reasons to go back.

You can replay levels and use all of your excess goo to see how high of a tower you can build (while seeing how high other people are getting online), but this is really the sort of game that would benefit from a level editor, which unfortunately isn’t included with the Wii version of the game.

However, 2D Boy, the developer of the game, has expressed interest in creating downloadable levels for the game, which could draw players back in.

It’s also worth noting that “World of Goo” is a downloadable title, and as such is available for a budget price. This makes the decision to recommend the game even easier.

Packed with charm, tight controls, great artwork, and highly addictive gameplay, it’s hard to say that there’s a gamer out there that should pass on “World of Goo.” It’s simply an amazing experience – especially coming from such a small development team – and is one that should be fully supported with your dollar.

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

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