World of Goo: What. A. Game.

World of Goo is the multi-award winning, beautifully designed, physics-based puzzler that has recently found its way to the Android Market after massive success on just about every other platform.

I became aware of this launch when nearly all the Android news sources began screaming about it from the rooftops. Intrigued, I was keen to see if the hype was entirely justified. So, is it worth all that saturation? Read on…

What Is World of Goo?

World of Goo is a luscious physics-based building game where you connect balls of goo together to build various structures. Often these have to traverse dangerous obstacles or challenging terrain. The goal is to reach a pipe which will then suck up any remaining globules not incorporated into the structure. You need to have a certain number of globs sucked up to complete the level, which encourages you to be an efficient goo-builder.

Challenging environments makes for tricky yet rewarding gameplay

Challenging environments makes for tricky yet rewarding gameplay

There are a variety of different goo balls in the game, each with a unique property to exploit in order to complete a level. There is also an ongoing storyline, cut scenes, quirky guidance from the mysterious Sign Painter and all manner of things to do and places to explore.

The game was originally launched on the Windows platform back in 2008 and since then it has amassed several awards and explored new platforms including Mac, Linux, iOS and now the mighty Android.

Controls

You control the game by touching the screen and dragging a blob of goo to a suitable position. This will be indicated by a white template which becomes part of the structure when you release the blob. Further blobs are dragged and placed to fashion your structure as you need to.

Pink Goo can be used to create balloons

Pink Goo can be used to create balloons

As mentioned this might be building a structure as high as possible, maneuvering around a spike, over a hill or bridging a wide gap. Each level is very different from the last, so it never feels monotonous.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics are second to none, certainly on the Android platform. Visuals are remarkably rich, detailed and interactive. The blobs of goo themselves are deliciously bouncy, juicy and buoyant. They are typically black, with different blob-types differentiated by their different colors. Scenery and obstacles are cutely designed and themed differently depending on the chapter.

Chapter 1 Map

Chapter 1 Map

Colours are most often vivid and bright, although the game isn’t afraid to play with this element and will occasionally plunge you into a darkness where you have to work with silhouetted blobs of goo against a dazzling backdrop. Inventive, immersive and visceral, it’s just a gorgeously buttery experience that explodes from the screen like a Skittles rainbow.

Combine different coloured Goo balls to reach the pipe

Combine different coloured Goo balls to reach the pipe

The sound compliments this perfectly. It changes depending on the chapter you’re on; this, combined with the different graphical styles and puzzles, makes each chapter a wholly fresh experience from the last. From rich orchestral loops, miltary-style snippets of trumpet and swaggering disco beats to thumpy ballad-esque claps, the rich soundscapes and desolate Terminator synths make for an incredibly diverse soundtrack,

Incidentally, the soundtrack has been released as a separate download, by the producer.

Gameplay

Playing the game is a lot of fun. While the physics of World of Goo make the game very challenging at times, it’s hugely rewarding to complete a level. The different blobs create inventive and dynamic objectives that always feel significantly different from the previous level. While the essence of the game is never lost, it continually feels both diverse and rich. In the past I have found other physics games to be quite repetitive and mundane after a few levels. The fresh approach the developers have taken to each section of the game is genuinely refreshing to see.

The game is simple to play and exceptionally immersive, sucking you in and bringing out your competitive side. Often you’ll very nearly reach the pipe, only for your structure to collapse horribly into a throbbing mass of lost goo. In other situations it would perhaps have me switching the game off and doing something else, feeling sour and fed up. This didn’t happen for me with World of Goo; I just happily started again, trying to think around the challenge and figure out what went wrong. It’s just so irrepressibly compelling.

Compared to Other Physics Games

If there is one thing we have an abundance of in the Android Market, it’s physics based games. Titles like Spaghetti Marshmellows and Cut the Rope have proved to be hugely popular, but even lesser-known games like Blast Monkeys introduce addictive and canny gameplay. Spreading this net wider, titles such as Turbo Grannies bring a novel twist on the principal of gameplay influenced by gravity and real-world elements.

For me, however, World of Goo can afford to sneer at these contenders with derision. Unlike many of these games, ‘Goo mixes up the many challenges it poses in such a way that it often feels like several games in one. Truly exceptional, majestic and inventive it skilfully absorbs the gamer into its gooey environments making it as addictive as oxygen.

Level complete screen

Level complete screen

Conclusions

World of Goo is brilliantly playable and completely worth the hype and attention it received both on alternative platforms and the lead up to its recent Android release. It’s not too difficult, nor is it too hard. It’s deliciously fun and compelling and certainly worth forking out the money for the full version. You need a relatively high-calibre device to play it, but my 1 year old HTC Desire HD handled it absolutely fine. There is a demo version which I suggest you download to ensure it will work for you. These checks done, definitely think about downloading the full version of this stormingly flawless game.


Summary

Brilliantly playable and challenging, World of Goo is a flawless physics-based romp that is irrepressibly addictive and fun. Sound, graphics and exceptional gameplay all contribute to a wholly superb gaming experience.

10
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow