World of Goo WiiWare, PC
The definition of Goo in the dictionary goes along the lines of “a thick or sticky substance”. That’s certainly what you play around with in 2D Boy’s first release. Nobody would have thought messing with goo in a game would be so damn good but Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel have managed to do it, and do it outstandingly.
World of Goo falls into a special category that only a select few games fall into. Do you remember when you first got your hands on Super Mario 64, the excitement that oozed out of you when you picked up the pad and controlled Mario around in 3D for the first time? Or when you were pulling out the Master Sword from its stone placement in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? These were special moments in a gamer’s life and playing World of Goo deserves to be placed alongside such events.
World of Goo is a physics based game with a twist. Using the Wii remote as your control device, you are able to pick up pieces of goo and join them together with other pieces of goo to create constructions. The aim is to get a certain amount of goo into the pipe waiting at the end of the level. Brain power is required in order to build something capable of allowing the goo to get to the pipe and be sucked up into the collection tin. It might sound easy but if you use too many blobs of goo then you won’t have enough to pass the level’s requirements.
Switching on World of Goo and getting to play the first few levels gives you a warm feeling inside. As you make your way through the game, the more you end up with a smile that would put The Joker’s to shame. And when you think you’ve seen it all, something new will be thrown at you. The game has a way of grabbing you with everything it has; the looks, gameplay mechanics and physics all work together to make it seem as if the game was coming out of the TV, its gooey hands welcoming you with warm hugs and not letting go.
The levels start off short and fairly simple so you can get your head around how the game works. Your creations need to be in the realm of balance and gravity; make something unsuitable and your goo structure will fall over, collapse, or bend in highly amusing ways. New level challenges come into play as you progress, from level hazards to new types of goo. For example, along with the conventional black is the green goo that allows you to join and disjoin your green goo from your goo building, giving you the ability you to climb up the level. Some of the levels really get you thinking and are designed in such a way to make them feel unique.
A useful gameplay mechanic is the ability to click on a limited supply of flying bugs to reverse time, so if your tower falls down, you can simple put it back a few steps. Time bugs are a genius idea that stop you getting the “I did all that and can’t be bothered to do it all again” feeling you will have experienced with other games.
Completing the whole package of awesome gooeyness is World of Goo’s mesmerising presentation. The surreal artistic style compliments the level designs, and there’s also short cut-scenes that could be from a Tim Burton animation. Another thing World of Goo does well is the rich use of colour; the chapters of the game take place within a year, each chapter set within a season, starting with chapter 1’s summer through to chapter 4’s spring. An example is the moment in the game where wind is introduced, set in a level with shadowed trees blowing in the background, with a lovely tone of rich strawberry and crimson red making up the floor and background design. It looks delightful.
Sound is a tranquillity thing for World of Goo. The music feeds off the level design to provide an aura that is a little on the eerie side. Sound is also used to help distinguish the goo; they all jingle a little different. Together it makes for a soothing, quirky sound for your ears that is sometimes slow, fast and even epic sounding.
All this is controlled with just the Wii remote without the need for the nunchuck attachment. World of Goo has the most basic of controls, yet it works to the game’s advantage. You only need to point the Wii remote at the screen and use the cursor to pick up and drop things with the A button. The camera movement is automatic as it moves when you put the cursor close to the end of the screen. This can be a minor problem and is one of the only negative points – having the nunchuck to control the camera would be a lot better and would no doubt help the problem of the camera accidently moving, or not moving fast enough in some cases. That aside, everything else is spot on.
The length of time the 45+ levels will last depends on how awesome your brain power is. Each level also includes a challenge to gain the OCD rank. Obsessive Completion Distinction usually means finishing the level in a certain amount of time or with more goo over the required limit. Either way the game is packed with levels and you as the player shouldn’t feel ripped off after departing 1500 Wii points on the game. World of Goo is so worth every one of those points – it’s the best WiiWare title at the moment and deserves recognition as one of the best Wii games.
Multiplayer also features in the WiiWare version in the form of a fully cooperative experience for up to four players. There’s actually no menu option for it, just turn on some extra Wii remotes and off you go. They can join in at anytime and play with you. Player 1 still has control of the camera, so the players will have to work together.
One last feature is the area called World of Goo Corporation. This area is where all the extra bonus goo you managed to save gets sent to. Using the WiiConnect 24 system, you can see other people’s attempts at trying to build the tallest goo structure using their extra goo they have earned.
To do World of Goo justice, you really need to get playing it. Screenshots and videos might not make you spark alight with interest but simply just grabbing that Wii remote and having a go will let you understand more why it is so special. World of Goo is so full of unbelievable ideas that merge so well with its fresh take on the puzzle genre. It ticks all the boxes: fun, innovative, simple yet complex, brilliant and addictive.
I could go on and on, but really all I need to do is start a petition to get the meaning of goo in the dictionary changed to “a thick or sticky substance that makes for awesome games”. Don’t miss this year’s biggest surprise.