World of Goo Review
It’s no secret that World of Goo is the best iOS game out there. It just is. This game doesn't need fancy particle effects or lush 3D environments to hook you. World of Goo’s genius lies in its simplicity and design. The gameplay, art direction, and music are all perfectly integrated so that everything just feels effortless.
2D Boy’s debut, released back in 2008, set the gold standard that all other indie games have been trying to live up to. The runaway success of World of Goo, along with Jonathan Blow’s Braid, helped to set off a wave of creator-inspired games that are injecting new life into the gaming industry. There’s even a legit indie gaming movie. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
What’s remarkable about the success of World of Goo is that all it took to bring it to life was two (very talented) guys and $10,000 of their own money. No big studios, development teams or focus groups. It first shipped as a Wiiware title and immediately took off. You can now play it pretty much on any platform, aside from the PS3.
But the iOS version, in my opinion, is the best out of all of them. In retrospect, it’s surprising that the game wasn't developed for the iPad to begin with. Using a mouse or the Wiimote works just fine, but there’s just something so much more satisfying about using your fingers to manipulate and fling the goo balls around.
This is complemented by some top-notch physics programming. You can almost feel the different types of goo when you’re moving them around. And your goo creations will change with each and every additional piece that’s added, all while reacting to the different in-world elements like weather, machinery, and moving platforms.
The goal in World of Goo is basic enough. The world is filled with sleepy orbs of eyeballed goo that all want to be sucked through a pipe that’s positioned somewhere in each level. What you have to do is figure out different ways to construct towers, swings, bridges, and whatever else you can stick together to help the goo balls on their way. Simple!
As you progress through the game’s nearly 50 levels, the challenges get progressively tougher. Every so often you will be introduced to new types of goo balls, such as the balloon goo ball and the spiky goo ball. These different balls are essential to make it through certain levels in the game, with some levels requiring up to four different goo ball types working in unison.
The game can occasionally veer into the frustrating. Did you add one more goo ball than you should have to your already ridiculously long goo suspension bridge? I sure did. But these moments are quickly overshadowed by the game’s lighthearted tone and the urge to start rebuilding. And you are never losing all that much to begin with when you have to restart. Suffice it to say, you won’t be tempted to chuck your iPad across the room.
The aesthetics of the game are just as great as everything else. The game looks like something you could find inside a treasure chest in a corner of Pee Wee’s playhouse. It’s whimsical and a little dark at the same time. Perfectly synced with this is a musical score that sounds as though it was penned by Danny Elfman. Nope. That would be the work of Kyle Gabler, one of the two very talented guys behind this amazing game.
If you haven’t played it and are on the fence about purchasing, let me help you along. Do it! This will easily be the best five bucks you've spent in a while.