Refreshingly Unusual Building Puzzles
While these puzzles are tied together with an elusive storyline about a big corporation that misuses these little blobs of goo to make products, the main focus of the game is solving these refreshingly unusual building puzzles.
In each puzzle, you are presented with a gaggle of wriggling goo balls and an exit drain pipe that is far away from the balls of goo. Your objective is to combine some of the goo balls into a structure that will traverse the terrain to enable the remaining goo balls to travel over the structure to reach the pipe. As the puzzles get harder, building around or over goo-destroying obstacles including hills, cliffs, chasms, pits of doom, goo-popping machinery, and spikes, is the norm. Each puzzle has a designated number of goo balls that need to make it into the pipe.
How to Play
Combining the goo balls is as simple as clicking on one and dragging it close to another one. Goo strands will immediately stretch between the balls, and as you move them around, you can see the different ways you can form triangulated bonds. When you click, the goo balls combine. This simplicity makes it appealing to everyone, kids and adults alike.
The challenge comes from the physics rules involving this gooey building material. As an elastic and jiggly substance, it creates structures which resemble Jell-O. If a structure is stressed too much in one direction or another, it will collapse or fall over. Plus, since the unattached balls of goo like to climb on these structures, particularly at the top, you have to factor in their weight.
Adding to the fun (and challenge) is different colored goo balls that have special abilities. Some harden when stuck together and then can't be moved; while others can be plucked out of structures to be repositioned. Some look like water drops and have the ability to stretch out a great distance. Others can be ignited by flames, causing chain reactions. And some can be filled with a helium-like substance to make them (and your structure) float.
Helping you along the way are cryptic signs that offer hints (and some of the game's quirky sense of humor). There are also little bugs flying around which if clicked, undo your last move. Plus you can retry a puzzle as many times as you wish, and even skip it. And for those who really love a challenge, each puzzle can be replayed on a more challenging level, which requires more goo balls to make it through to the exit.
Why This Indie Game Is SOOO Good
Not only are the puzzles fascinating to explore, but these goo balls have personalities. When touched, they reveal eyes and emit cute gibberish sounds.
Adding to this game's appeal are striking visuals and a riveting musical score. While black is the predominant color, the visuals have a Dr. Seuss-like appeal. The enticing music varies to enhance each puzzle setting so you'll hear soothing string orchestrations in calm environments and discordant sounds when goo-popping spikes are near.
While young children will initially be able to play (and in the process learn about physics), this is a game best played by tweens, teens, and adults who won't get stymied when the puzzles get harder. Plus the allegorical story that pokes fun at unrestrained capitalism, our concept of beauty, and internet privacy will be lost on little kids.
The game is available at retail or via download for Windows and Macs. The Wii version is only available as a download, and offers a unique cooperative mode, which can be fun for families.
World of Goo is a masterpiece. Its puzzles are simple in concept and deliciously difficult to solve. With its stunning graphics, endearing building materials, captivating music, and a quirky sense of humor, this is a game you won't want to miss.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.