I honestly don’t know where to begin on this one. This game is so startlingly brilliant on so many levels that it’s difficult to say ‘oh yeah that’s the stand out thing’ and then begin with that. Perhaps a description would be the best way. World of Goo is a puzzle game. Except it’s not really. Ok well maybe it is, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a puzzle game. I’m not getting frustrated or bored by it at all. Maybe this is how a puzzle game should be.
Essentially all World of Goo is is a physics game where you build structures out of balls of goo of varying properties. While that sounds rather dull, the ingenuity with which all of the levels are made and executed is so wonderfully brilliant that you’re never thinking ‘ok I’m bored now let’s move onto the next section’. If anyway, I wanted to spend more time in each chapter with each type of goo to get to know them a little more. You see each goo ball is an individual, and while they may not know they are in a game, or that they are incredibly delicious, they are self aware, to an extent.
They make little noises, and fling themselves at the structure in an almost Lemmings-esque fashion that is delightful to behold. There’s one species of Goo in the third chapter that is so wonderfully adorable in both looks and back story (There’s a helpful Sign Painter who tells you a little about each type of Goo) that I just wanted to spend the rest of the game helping him out. But alas, there were more puzzles to do that didn’t involve him. Everything from the way they incorporate themselves into structures to the sounds they make is utterly perfect, with the common Goo balls making satisfying squelching sounds to the liquid based ones making an audible ‘plop’ when you move them around.
There seems to be a wonderful feeling that at the beginning of the level you almost instantly know what you have to do but exactly how you’re going to do it might be a little trickier. Even when you realise that, you are going to have to actually build/traverse your way across the level to reach the pipe. While this does get easier the more you do it, there’s still that moment when you’re precarious tower starts to sway a little too much, and you suddenly start shouting at the monitor as the whole thing comes crashing down.
Not to worry though; 2D Boy have thought of that. As you assemble your structures little ‘time’ bugs start flying around, and, when clicked, they put you back a move. It’s things like this that demonstrate the ridiculous level of polish thrown into World of Goo. Sure you could retry, and sometimes you have to because you did some fatal flaw in your structure too far back for the bugs to rectify, but the fact that they thought of this is just showing how much they want you to enjoy their game, rather than just play it.
The artwork is wonderful in it’s own right, and touches like a moving background with different depths make playing the game a joy. It’s primary school beauty in it’s own right, with the deliberately amateur cutscenes for each chapter lathering on such charm that you actually become interested in the story as it unfolds. The story itself is baffling for the most part, and I’m still not sure exactly what goes on, but it was constantly hilarious.
By far the most stand out thing for me was the music, and as far as I can tell it was written and performed by the developers of the game, which makes it even more stunning. I’ve pulled the music files from the game folder and they’re now in my music library, which is definitely a first for me, game-wise. There’s just something brilliantly haunting and jovial about the whole soundtrack that lends a grandeur to the completion of the puzzles that just wouldn’t be there otherwise.
World of Goo is easily the game that has brought me the most entertainment this year. Sure it only lasts a few hours before you’ve completed it, but every minute in those hours had me smiling. For me, that’s worth the $20 asking fee. I mean, that’s cheaper than a dvd, and you’ll enjoy it far, far more.
So go here and buy it.