World of Goo Review - The Intrepid

Sunday, December 07, 2008

World of Goo Review

World of Goo Frog's Head
World of Goo is an amazing PC puzzle game that is best described as a cross between Bridge Builder and Lemmings. The objective in any given level is to herd your goo balls towards the pipe—but here’s where it gets tricky, you also need to use your goo balls to construct the bridges, towers, and other structures necessary to succeed. If you use too many goo balls to build your tower, you may not have enough to complete the level, use too few and your structure might come crumbling down.

Not all goo balls are created equal. Green balls can be repeatedly used, red balls act like balloons, skull balls are invincible, and spiky yellow balls can attach themselves to other objects. While most levels only provide a certain number of goo balls, there are usually several ways to beat a level. For the most part, the goo balls and the levels look different from chapter to chapter.

Each chapter takes you to a different part of the goo world, as the Corporation of the World of Goo (your employer) seeks out these wonderful gelatinous blobs. Some parts of the game are cheery, while others are rather dreary, but the game’s quirky sense of humour, sharp 2D visuals, and striking music make it all work.

One of the biggest problems with the game is the difficultly. The game is just far too easy. Sure you can go back and try to get a better time or maximize your goo ball collection, but neither of these options provides much replay value. Most disappointing of all is the last four levels. Before taking on the final challenges, the Sign Painter, perhaps the most intriguing instructional character since Portal’s GLaDOS, tells you that these will be the most challenging of all. The levels hardly take more than 10 minutes to complete, and the last level isn't even a real puzzle.

Now while the game is a little too easy, there are a few ways the developer could have made it less frustrating. Since many of the levels require trial and error, it would have been nice to have the ability to go back to any point in the level. The time bugs allow you to go back up to five or six moves, but this really isn’t enough. Many of the challenges can only be solved in stages, and it can be tedious to have to go back and repeat certain parts of the level just to get to the tricky part again.

The World of Goo may be short and a little too easy, but it’s one of the best puzzle games in recent memory.