World of Goo was released on Steam this week to the delight of many a fan. Has 2D Boy’s latest creation got what it takes to hang with the big boys?
These days, every games company under the sun is having a crack at creating ‘the most original, awesome puzzler EVER™’. Many are churning out clones that would probably have fitted well on your dear old Atari, while others are supplying us with a mixture of pretty conundrums that make you want to shed real tears at how boringly easy they really are.
Nothing is more satisfying than building your first bridge of goo
But now and again, someone decides to put real thought into a puzzler and you can find yourself gawping at your computer screen, wondering how an idea so simple yet so effective has never been implemented before. Step forward and take a bow, ‘World of Goo’.
The basic concept behind WOG is to help your little gooey friends reach a pipe situated in the level somewhere. Starting with a base structure, each Goo ball can be attached between two of the structure’s nodes, creating an extra node which can then be used to build even higher or longer. And that really is it. Early stages of the game see you slowly building your swaying arrangement closer and closer to the pipeline, eventually freeing the goos from the level.
This is where the genius comes in. Goos cannot simply be stuck together in any old shape or fashion, as the laws of physics have been heavily put into practice. Build your tower off balance and the whole gooey mess will come tumbling down. It soon becomes apparent that that tall, narrow building idea just isn’t going to hold and your skyscraper is going to need some foundations before the vertical heights are explored.
While the game as a whole is very strange, some parts are a lot more strange than others
Once you’ve got your head around the general concept of construction, the game slowly begins to introduce other factors into the gameplay – everything is done slowly but surely. New types of goo and their fundamental differences are established – goos that stick to surfaces, heavy goos, goos that hang, goos you can fire across levels, undead goos – there’s a whole host of gooey specimens to encounter, each adding a whole new element to the way the game works.
Of course, as progression is made through the game, the puzzles become more fiddly and complicated and more brain power is needed to ensure that your goos don’t come to a sticky end – although just in case they do and you find yourself screaming ‘I wish I hadn’t done that!’, it is possible to take it back a move by clicking on one of the glowing flies that buzz around watching the action. Every time that we thought it couldn’t get anymore clever, 2D Boy would drop something so clever on us, we’d wonder how on Earth such a little game could contain so many incredible ideas. The main game is split into four chapters, along with a short (but fiendishly tricky) epilogue chapter, which all together takes around 5-6 hours to complete – although apparently the retail edition of the game will feature an extra sixth chapter, which we hope 2D Boy will bring to us Steam users at a later date. Yet while it’s not the longest experience, it definitely feels otherwise during play. This reviewer can freely admit that when he looked across to check the time and realised that it was 3 o’clock in the morning and he had been playing non-stop for four hours, the pulling power of WOG is clear to see.