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Alternative Names

Goo no Wakusei



2D Boy



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Release Dates

10/13/08 2D Boy
04/21/09 Nintendo
12/19/08 2D Boy

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Owners: 265
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Review: World of Goo

By Sqrl 21st Oct 2008 | 2,867 views 

The World of Goo awaits those willing to take on the challenge, but is it worth your money?

As is often a problem for independent developers, even those who have a fabulous product, it can be very difficult to pierce the market and get the word out about their fabulous product. World of Goo is just such a fabulous product and despite some pretty rave previews and now rave reviews has still gone largely unnoticed.

So, "What is World of Goo?" you ask. It can be partially described as a cross between Lemmings and a bit of structural engineering thrown in for good measure (the fun parts anyway, not the boring formulas). But that really doesn't do it any justice at all. A picture and a description can help, but it's really no substitute for actually having the "Oh!" moment for yourself.

In each level you are tasked with helping your adorable and lovable little goo balls reach the pipe at the end of the level. Upon reaching the pipe they are forcefully sucked up and carried off to deeper parts of the mysterious World of Goo. And as one might imagine, it's what happens from the start of the level to the pipe at the finish of each level that really makes up the meat of the game.

Each level starts you out with a small gooey structure and a number of lovable goo balls crawling on it. The goal is simple enough, just build your way to the pipe and save as many of your gooey friends as you possibly can. Simple right? Well not exactly.

Along the way you'll be dealing with buzz saws, spinning blades, spiked walls, and a whole lot more, all of which collude to prevent you from reaching your goal. And beyond the obvious obstacles are the environmental hazards as well. Hurricane force winds, bottomless pits, rotated gravity, and more provide a full flavored challenge that once overcome provides an almost addictive sense of accomplishment as you barrel forward to the next even bigger challenge.

Of course this isn't to say that World of Goo is so hard that only those weighed down by their cranium need apply, that is not the case at all. The levels have been designed masterfully to allow all players the opportunity to work their way through the game without feeling completely outmatched by the difficulty. For those who might find the basic requirements for each level a bit too tough the game will offer you the option to skip a level when you get stuck.

But in addition to that basic requirement, each level also has an "Obsessive Completion Distinction" (i.e. OCD) goal as well. Those with a glutton for punishment will find the OCD challenges don't disappoint and can provide quite a bit of re-playability as well. Unlike the basic requirements, the OCD flags aren't simply about rescuing as many goos as you can, they can also be a requirement to finish under a certain number of moves or under a certain time as well.

Now, along your journey through the World of Goo you will constantly encounter new flavors of goo, and each new breed offers its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, while most goo balls are usable only once, you'll find that the green goo balls (as well as a few others) can be used as many times as you like. Gooey abilities range from floating balloon goo, sticky goo, flammable goo, explosive goo, albino goo, drooly goo, etc. And each level offers a mixture of these goos to use and some levels will leave pockets of sleeping goo in hard to reach places that you will have to build your structure to in order to wake them and enlist them to help you in your structural struggle.

Of course the joys of World of Goo go beyond its immensely enjoyable gameplay and into its art style as well. The art direction has been described by some as Tim Burton meets LocoRoco, but I personally prefer the phrase "adorably strange" and even "strangely adorable". Each level consists of detailed environments that actually feel unique and give a strong sense of atmosphere and mood. Animations, while not technically impressive, are near perfection. And each type of goo has had its look designed to convey its function and personality.

The musical score for the game was also done in-house, which is not always a complement for indie developers, but this is certainly an exception. The music is beautifully crafted to reinforce the mood laid out by the art style and the creative synergy makes the entire experience all the more deep and enjoyable. Let's be clear though, the music is not an epic composition that will blow you away, but that isn't its goal either. The music is meant to set the ambiance and the mood, and it succeeds wonderfully at doing both. Also worth mentioning when talking about the game's ambiance is the sign painter, a mysterious character who has traversed the world of goo ahead of you and left painted wooden signs with various messages ranging from helpful hints to bizarre quips.

Beyond the music is the chattering noises made by the goo balls themselves. The quirkiness of a goo chattering as you pick it up and then its bug-eyed screeching when you drop it in mid air is fantastically satisfying. But it also breathes life into a character that could just as easily have been an emotionless lump of color, and in the hands of a larger studio pushing hard to squeeze in under budget, very probably would have been.

Even, with all of the effort that must have gone into the art and music one of the most impeccably well tuned areas of the game is actually its physics engine. As your little goo balls crawl about your structure it will bend, sway, and occasionally even collapse because of the excited little guys swinging all over the place. To be honest there isn't really much more to say about the physics engine because it's simply one of those things that if it works properly nobody should notice it, and once again 2d Boy does not disappoint.

One of the best parts of this game is truly its accessibility and the number of people it will appeal to. From young to old and everywhere in between the game can provide a stimulating challenge. The Wiiware version is especially nice since it offers a 4 player co-op allowing even very young children to play together or with an adult. Of course if that is not your style you can get the PC version which will have a profanity pack enabling some lurid and foul comments from the previously adorable goo balls.

Even in terms of value World of Goo does quite well. For $20 on the PC and $15 on Wiiware the game will offer probably between 5 to 10 hours of challenge to those sitting down for the first time (depending on your problem solving skills). But once the OCD flags are added into the mix, you can easily rack up 15 or 20 hours, I'm already at 14 and I'm only about halfway through the OCD challenges. With that said the WiiWare version gets an "A" for value while I would have to downgrade it to an "A-" for the PC version given the extra $5 cost and loss of 4 player co-op.

So with all of the wonderful things I've said thus far, I'll take a moment and mention all of the bad things before I launch into my conclusion. The game's biggest problem is first and foremost that scrolling can be a bit of a pain occasionally, the only way to scroll the camera about the level is to move your cursor (PC)/pointer (Wii) to the edge of the screen and let it slowly slide about. If they had allowed users to move with the WASD (PC)/Nunchuk (Wii) it would have been a much more seamless control scheme. With that said I do think it's fair to point out it also would have adjusted the challenge of the game considerably and possibly made it a bit too easy. In addition, occasionally goos clump in one portion of a structure making it difficult when you're in a rush to grab the one you want, and once you do get a hold of him you might lose your grip causing one of those aforementioned screeches. I noticed throughout my time that this problem of dropping goos became less and less so it may simply be an operator error on my part, and I was only able to replicate the issue when trying to drag a goo through an object or wall.

My only other complaint is that there were so many great ideas for levels that could have been. When you finish the game, you will probably have 10 ideas of your own for levels and possibly even a few new types of goo. And in that regard this is somewhat of a strength for 2d Boy, after all you always want to leave them wanting more, right?

Ok so we've all heard this before: Gamer meets game, gamer falls in love, game breaks gamer's heart, rinse repeat etc..etc.. This is the typical cycle of the gaming world where games are announced, hyped, and then released only to disappoint relative to their (usually unrealistically high) expectations. Occasionally though, a game does come along that you really like and you think to yourself "This is the kind of game I want my parents to meet!" or "This is the kind of game I think I could settle down with.", but maybe I'm taking this analogy a bit too far.

Of course I wouldn't be making this point if I didn't think World of Goo is this latter type of game (and it is). But of course as is the goal of any review it's my job to explain why I think you should buy World of Goo (and you should). It's not that the game is an independent project that peaked at a team of 3 and manages to outshine most big budget productions from major studios despite that limitation (which it does). It's not that its represents a slice of what gaming should and could be (and it does). And it's not that it's a fantastically original game with a bargain for a price tag (which of course it is). Of course all of those things matter but the reason you should buy World of Goo is because it is simply a fun game .

"Wait" you might say to yourself, "Lots of games are fun, what's so special about this one?". Well, let me back up for a second and be clear. World of Goo is fun for *everyone*. I'm sure you could point to me a large list of games that you find fun and enjoyable, but how many of those games are games that anyone could play and enjoy? How many of those games explain all you need to know in a mere 10 seconds of watching someone else play?

Of course the answer is that there are still a number of games that fit that criteria as well. But having filtered our list of games down I would ask you to peruse the list and tell me how many of these games are considered absolute classics? I mean this is a list of games that includes Super Mario Brothers which had people from all walks of life clamoring to play. This is a list of games that includes Tetris which challenged people to engage their brains while playing a video game. That is a pretty good list to be on, wouldn't you say?

Of course, I can't tell you whether or not World of Goo will be remembered as a classic game and it would be presumptuous to assert that it should be. What I can tell you is that it shares a large number of the qualities that some of the greatest games have in that it's simple, it's fun, it's addictive, and it's approachable for everyone. Put simply, if you can even remotely afford to pick the game up, it's worth every last cent.

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Sales History

Opinion (32)

Arfen posted 23/11/2009, 10:44
this game is freaking awesome. I'm waiting to see the next of these guys
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c03n3nj0 posted 08/09/2009, 04:36
Hmmm, me likey this game.

I got 8 hours in and beat it. But I still haven't finished all the little extras.
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Nintendogamer posted 07/09/2009, 01:29
so far this game sold 0.00 million.... yeah right LOL
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TX109 posted 25/07/2009, 03:13
just got it. love it!
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gvangoeverden posted 21/05/2009, 04:28
One of my favorite games of the last couple of years. A masterpiece!
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Gnac posted 23/04/2009, 11:35
These sales are terrible!
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