Gone to Goo

14 Oct

I’ve been aware of World of Goo, but I didn’t really follow it all that closely. Now that it’s available for Wii Ware, I’m kinda’ glad I didn’t pay much attention because I would have been anxious for the past few weeks like I was with Mega Man 9. It wasn’t until I saw this video earlier today that I began to get excited:

There’s just so much charm and personality in that strange style. After that, a quick perusal of WiiWare World’s glowing review sealed the deal for me. Any digital game over ten bucks carries a stigma, but World of Goo is a safe investment if you enjoy unique, refreshing gameplay that requires a little thought.

World of Goo has you building structures with various types of goo. By clicking and dragging free goos, you can add on to previously set joints. Your goal in each stage is to reach an exit pipe so that you can escape with a certain number of goos. Each stage presents a unique challenge such as bridging a gap, climbing a steep mountain, maneuvering around dangerous obstacles, and much more.

There are various types of goo. The basic black goo can only be used once, but allows all other connected black goos to flow through to the exit once it’s reached. Green goos can be used multiple times and can form stronger bonds at up to three joints. They often use friction against walls to bridge gaps in mid air.

Everything is governed by a fairly complex physics system. The goo is quite fluid so there will always be some motion to your structures. To prevent structures from toppling over, you’ll have to  reinforce the base, but you also have to keep in mind how many goos you have at your disposal. This is where majority of the game’s challenge comes in: using the alloted amount of goos to reach the exit.

Sometimes you’ll want some instability in your structures as momentum can be used to your advantage. Other objects such as balloons add an interesting dynamic by lifting joints. The weight of everything isn’t really spelled out for you, so experimenting with different configurations will often yield different results.

While each stage requires the safety of a minimum number of goos, you can usually rescue more than you need. These excess goos are added to what is called the World of Goo Corporation, a free area where you’re asked to build the tallest tower you can with the extra goos you saved. You compete against other players online to build the tallest tower. This feature will surely add some replay value, not only in discovering new ways to build a taller structure, but by also going back to each level and rescuing every single goo that you may have missed.

The game is split into four chapters and an epilogue. I just finished the first chapter, which ended with a unique take on the game’s formula and the classic idea of a boss. It took a little more than an hour, but I anticipate the other three chapters to take me even longer by not only upping the challenge but by also introducing new goos to the mix.

These are only my first impressions, but already they sound like a review. I really can’t recommend this game enough. I’m only taking a break now because I want to pace myself, spreading out the fun as a far as possible. My only complaint regarding the game would be the frustration that comes with getting stumped on a stage, but trust me when I say that it’s the good kind of frustration that comes with any good puzzle.

I could go on about the humor, style, music, and more on the game’s presentation, but I’ll save that for my full review. Just know that that each stage looks great and has surprising incredible, often beautiful, heartfelt music. The game’s sense of humor is equally great what with the “sign painter” leaving hillarious hints here and there.

Play this game now! Fifteen bucks is a steal when you’ve been paying $30, $50, $60 for games half as good.

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