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‘World of Goo’ ***** PC/Wii Game Review 110708
The work = *****
‘World of Goo’ is a game so good and so simple that I just had to write a review in the hopes that I could get even just one person to give a try (and there is a demo too, that can be found at the official site HERE.) ‘World of Goo’ is a super simple puzzle game that is loads of fun to play and pretty darn addictive. It is a family friendly game that can be picked up and started by just about anyone. All you do is click, drag, and connect pieces of the titled “goo”. The bits of goo connect to one another to form jiggley structures. Your goal is to build your goo piles in such a way that they can connect to pipes scattered across the videogame landscape. Once the goo connects to a pipe, all the free goo blobs are sucked down the drain. Get enough of them down the pipe and you complete the level.
None of what I am writing does the game justice. It doesn’t sound like much but trust me when I say, ‘World of Goo’ is a lot of fun. All of the goo blobs make little noises and, as you will learn, there are different types of goo that have different abilities. Plus, scattered throughout the levels are little wooden signs. Clicking on the signs brings up different helpful messages by someone called “the sign painter.” The tidbits are sometimes just silly but more often are hints that give you just the right amount of advice to help complete the levels. Starting out slowly and incrementally building in challenge, ‘World of Goo’ sucks you into its little goo universe that at times plays like sort of goo’y reverse-Jenga.
‘World of Goo’ has that magical quality that makes it fun and addicting. Not unlike the best of the ‘Worms’ or the ‘Lemmings’ games, it is fun while still being challenging. ‘World of Goo’ has a simplistic cartoony’ look that is inviting and easy to warm up to. Even though the levels are not the most graphically complex, many times they have added details that give them a little bit of style or a hidden surprise (such as finding a hidden sign waaaaaaaay off in the background of a level.) The music perfectly complements the look of the game, adding rousing tunes that sometimes inject a sense of scale. Add to that the great sound effects and fun animations and you have a lot of polish for such an inexpensive title.
The most impressive part is ‘World of Goo’ is that it is a game that was almost entirely made by only two people. That’s right, studios spend millions pumping out mediocre games and a couple of guys come along and produce a fun and downright excellent title. Not only that but they released it themselves and those of you with Nintendo Wii’s or Windows based PC’s can enjoy ‘World of Goo’ for $15 to $20 (supposedly soon to be appearing on Linux and a Mac version has already been released.) Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel are the two artists behind ‘World of Goo’. Together, they created and released ‘World of Goo’ through their company ‘2D Boy’.
To find problems is really just to nitpick. There are no real options so the volume levels in the game can’t be adjusted. This is not generally a problem but it would have been nice if I had the ability to adjust the volume in the game. I was also a little disappointed to find that the game cannot be run in high resolutions (which the creators are aware of because there is at least one joke about it hidden in the game.) There also are maybe a few levels early on that are a might bit too difficult. They come close to being frustrating, instead of just challenging. Occasionally, scrolling through a level doesn’t happen as smoothly as it could and it would have been nice if there was an alternate control (especially on the Wii where it could have been the directional pad.)
The surface of multiplayer options are just hinted at on the Wii version of ‘World of Goo’. There is a cooperative mode that lets two people play through the game at once. Unfortunately there is no multiplayer on the PC version and I can just picture some sort of massive goo multiplayer game where people could build goo structures against one another. The possibilities are enticing and it also would have been nice if there was some sort of level editor so players could build and share their own levels. The multiplayer and level editor absences really just speak to how good the game is that I simply wanted more. (Actually, according to the official website, there is already a level editor in the works.)
Looking at the game as a whole, there is not much to complain about and if nothing else most of the “problems” are just things that will hopefully appear in ‘World of Goo 2’ (which better get made.) I have paid a lot more for worse games and I ended up buying both the PC and the Wii versions. Even at a combined total of $35, the purchases felt like a bargain because ‘World of Goo’ is just that good. Like the best of the ‘Worms’, ‘Lemmings’, or even back to ‘The Incredible Machine’, ‘World of Goo’ just has that special addictive quality that a certain type of puzzle games can produce.
The controls are responsive and the physics of the goo balls and their world always seems just right. With the tight play control (using either a mouse on the PC or the remote on the Wii,) the catchy, spot on, music and the cartoony’ but polished look ‘World of Goo’ is a great game, fun to play and easy to pick up. (As a side note if I had to pick one, I would say I enjoy the PC version more, only because I have an easier time with a mouse than a Wii remote.) I hope the success of ‘World of Goo’ lets Gabler and Carmel make a much needed sequel as well as other titles. Their work through 2D Boy is impressive and ‘World of Goo’ shows that a game doesn’t have to have expensive art direction and celebrity voice talent to work. All you really need is goo. Highly, highly recommended.
‘World of Goo’ Links:
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