Review: World of Goo

Fuck art.

No, really. If there’s one argument that crops up time and time again in philosphical gaming debate, it’s whether games can be considered as art. Can the dystopian nightmare of City 17 be compared to Gogh’s Sunflowers? Do the high flying adventures of the Prince of Persia speak as much about the human condition than the Persistance of Memory? Well, if you’re asking my personal opinion, then you might want to read that opening sentence again. We don’t need to justify our hobby, our preferred form of entertainment in order to give it some worth. But if you want to play quite possibly one of the best titles this year – over even the biggest multi-million stuff – you could do a lot worse than surrendering a portion of your time towards World of Goo.

Coming from ex-EA employees 2D Boy, World of Goo expands on the formula introduced by experimental gameplay project darling Tower of Goo. Utilizing goo that forms rigid bonds when connected with other goo and then structures can be made with the resulting scaffolding. Players must make their way through many levels across five chapters with the ultimate aim of getting as many balls of goo into the pipe at the end of every level – bearing in mind that many of the balls used in the constuction are unable to be rescued once used. So levels become a balancing act of creating a sturdy enough structure while still leaving enough goo to meet the level quota. But the brilliance in this game is that even with that rather complex description, I can still use the old cliché that “It’s not as simple as that” – and mean it.

Goo comes in many varieties: some stick to things, some can be reattached some can burn and some can even do many other awesome things that would be a crime to mention by spoiling them here. And that’s the crucial flaw in trying to review this game. WoG was made for discovery. Every level is about discovering the new challenges; every moment of this wonderful game brings some absolutely astounding moments of realisation, where something just clicks and you work out the trick to each level. It’s a feeling of real accomplishment that’s hard to find in any other game, and it’s extremely brave of 2DBoy to show that they’re not afraid of pulling the carpet from underneath the feet of the player. Of course, some concepts and ideas are retained from previous levels and utilized in the future, but it’s telling of the dynamics of WoG that once you’ve learned a concept, there’s another new little trick or knack to be used in the next one. Never second guessing or trying to insult the intelligence of it’s players, every level feels like a new challenge with something waiting to be exposed or your brain to suddenly cotton on.

On an aesthetic level, World of Goo does not fail to dissappoint. With some unique visuals and artwork, the game looks stunning. Credit to the art team for producing such a unique looking game – and one that radiates in what can only be descibed as pure beauty. While the screenshots go someway to conveying how awesome the visuals are, to see them in motion is another thing entirely. There’s just the right balance of movement and the sense of style is a great accomplishment, complimented perfectly by a fantastic score and sound effects. World of Goo has an aesthetic identity all of it’s very own, and it truly makes the game stand out from the crowd. I know I’m one to fawn over indie games frequently, but I think even people with the most rudimentary grasp of style can’t help but be impressed by World of Goo.

The Tower Building metagame, the added OCD achievements and the ability to skip levels causing you grief may sound like fun if throwaway extras, but they become such an intregal part of the gameplay of World of Goo that it truly shows how in tune 2DBoy are with their consumers. It’s a game that quite literally had me grinning from ear to ear as I played through it, constantly managing to suprise, perplex and entertain me throughout our time together. There’s something truly special about this game, and it shouldn’t take hundreds of other reccomendations to convince you otherwise. Aside from the fact that it’s a game that really will suffer from spoilers if you let yourself be exposed to walkthroughs before you buy it, it’s truly difficult to find anything wrong with World of Goo. As sacchrine as it sounds for so many to fawn over it, just a play through should convince you of World of Goo’s wonderous charms.

World of Goo isn’t some abstract construct of art. But it is a masterpiece.


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2 Responses to Review: World of Goo

  1. […] Finally, a review rears it’s ugly head on this place, now I finally stopped procrastinating for long enough – Go read, then come back and comment if you desire. […]

  2. […] fantastic games that weren’t made by the big budget studios, and many of them go on to have highly successful careers in the mainstream markets as a result of the exposure. Thankfully, none of them seem to have developed some form of self […]

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