YOU’RE A GOOBY GOOBER
YOU’RE A GOOBY GOOBER
WE’RE ALL GOOBY GOOBERS
|The Hollywood diet! *ba dum tis*|
Several years back, two former EA employees decided to make a game about blobs of goo that join together to make large structures, and an indie hit was born. World of Goo is a game I’ve been meaning to review, but never really got the chance due to being too busy getting either getting other games or gifts to actually purchase. Thankfully, a friend finally gifted me the game on Steam, and I’m glad I finally got to play this bizarre physical experiment. Makes me want to play Little Inferno…which I don’t have any internet currency at the moment to go buy…oh…
The plot of World of Goo follows little living gooball creatures as they move around from place to place through mysterious pipes found in the world, looking for something. The whole time, a large corporation is trying to capture these gooballs to create new products for modern society, giving the game plenty of time to mix in some satire on various subjects, including modern obsession with beauty, pollution and even the internet. There’s also an unnamed mystery man going around called the Sign Painter, who leaves signs around and seems to be aware of the forth wall.
|The old west had cowboys, I’m pretty sure.|
The game is divided into five main sets of levels. Each level requires you to somehow make structures that can reach a pipe in the area that will absorb all the extra gooballs you have left, with a required amount necessary to beat the level. Story important levels might skip using the pipe altogether for other, similar goals, like reaching a certain point to trigger an event. As the game continues, more and more gooballs are introduced to shake up the puzzles, such as flammable ones, stick ones, pretty ones, balloon ones and various others. Things are always changed up in some way every few levels, keeping the game a fresh experience. Each level is also brilliantly designed, offering some real challenge in later chapters, but still fair by allowing you many undos as you progress and offering hints on signs to help you get on the right train of thought. The game also gives you some level skips as you continue to do well, allowing you to skip past the really, really difficult sections as a reward for playing well in earlier sections. Of course, they’re completely optional, and those looking for a challenge are free to ignore it.
The game can be entirely controlled by the mouse, so it’s not hard to figure out. Simply click on an active gooball, drag him around and look for a spot where the gooball leaves a little white line or two that lead to a gooball structure. Release and it becomes part of the structure. You can also click on little flies in the area to undo a previous move, said flies appearing as you make progress in the puzzle. The rest from there is knowing how to make stable or purposefully unstable structures, while keeping in mind level obstacles and the properties of the various gooballs in play. It’s simple to play, but it becomes very difficult down the like, such as in one level where you have to use skull gooballs to create a base for a bridge to avoid them from dropping on spikes. The trick there is that you only have a set amount of skulls and will eventually have to remove and reattach them elsewhere, while not causing the structure to fall apart. The game’s difficulty curve is thankfully well handled and it never throws anything too insane at you without a few levels before showing you the various new elements that will go into a later puzzle.
|Matches; what can’t they do?|
There’s also the World of Goo Corporation mode, where you can invite friends from your friend’s list to build towers with the extra gooballs you’ve managed to gather in your regular playthrough, with the game keeping score of the tallest gootowers in the world. It doesn’t really add much to the game, but it’s a nice touch that allows some creative fun with some friends. Speaking of leaderboards, the game keeps track of how well you do in each level, so you can submit the scores and see how you rank among the world, a nice addition for more competitive players.
Kyle Gabler’s art is one of the most interesting parts of the game. All his designs are very exaggerated and comedic, but they all fit in a wide variety of settings. He can make very peaceful looking places and very hellish ones by simple changing the color scheme and adding little touches like empty eye-sockets and basic structures. A lot of levels are effectively reskins of others in look, but the effect really works to show how drastically anything can change with a bit of time and interference. It helps push the dark comedy angle of the game. There’s also the cyperspace chapter, which simply looks stunning in its simplicity. The music, on the other hand, fits but s mostly forgettable, outside the game’s manic main theme. The gooballs, however, do make little grunts and sounds as you use them, a cute addition that really gives them their own personality. It adds far more to the game than you’d expect. The writing during cutscenes and in signs also manages to be pretty hilarious at times, mixing dry humor and blunt satire together.
|Pretty and powerlines do not mix.|
World of Goo is a really fun time with some really well done challenges in play. I highly recommend it for anyone of any age. The game ran surprisingly smooth on my terrible laptop, so there’s a good change you can easily play the Steam version. There are also iOS, Android and WiiWare versions, if you’re not a PC gamer. Lots of charm and strong level design make for one really memorable, amusing time.