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It's Still Goo-d - World of Goo Review

World of Goo Review

Despite being a huge fan of Little Inferno and thoroughly enjoying Human Resource Machine, I've somehow only just played World of Goo for the first time. The game was originally developed by 2D Boy for Wii and PC back in 2008 and was greeted with praise from critics and players alike. Now that Tomorrow Corporation (2D Boy's sort-of succesor) has published the game for Switch, I'm finally able to see if the game lives up to the hype... 9 years later.


Platforms: Wii, PC, Mobile, Switch [Reviewed]
Developer: 2D Boy (Tomorrow Corporation)
Release: October 13, 2008 (Wii), March 16, 2017 (Switch)
MSRP: $9.99
Press copy provided by Tomorrow Corporation


World of Goo is a puzzle game that features little blobs of goo. These blobs must be carefully built into structures to reach the end of each level and progress through a world filled to the brim with goo. As you complete each level by transporting a certain number of goo balls to the finish pipe, new levels and environments will be unlocked. Although World of Goo is a puzzle game, like all Tomorrow Corporation games, it features a compelling and ominous story.

World of Goo Screenshot

While it would seem that placing goo balls to solve puzzles wouldn't provide much variety, World of Goo begs to differ. The first set of levels will start you off simple: you'll need to build things like towers or bridges with simple structural integrity. If this sounds too easy, you should know that you are limited in every level by a small number of goo balls that you start with or collect throughout the level. What's more, you'll need to conserve a pre-determined number of these little creatures to satisfy the requirements and complete the level. Even if you've reached the goal, you won't be able to move on without the right number of gooey balls.

While you won't be completely abandoning towers and bridges, later chapters introduce more variety to what you'll need to build. The materials that are available to you are also increased with progress. The most common species of goo ball are small, black, and round. As you progress through the game, you'll run into Green Goo that can be moved after being placed, Red Goo that is highly flammable, Water Goo that is flame resistant, Skull Goo that is resistant to spikes, and Spike Goo that can stick to any surface. Among many other varieties, all of these goos are alloted in limited quantities and must be strategically placed in order to solve each puzzle. The combination of all these elements results in a challenging and rewarding puzzle expirience that doesn't grow old fast.

World of Goo Screenshot

While progressing through a large array of puzzles, you'll also be exposed to several different environments, seasons, and themes. The first "green-hill" chapter contrasts the snow-covered expanse featured in Chapter 3. With each new chapter new goo balls are introduced and utilized for puzzle solving.

In addition to enhancing the gameplay and your puzzle-solving abilities, exploring the world reveals a rather dark and intriguing story. What is the source of energy on the island? What is your tower of goo reaching towards? If you've played either of Tomorrow Corporation's other games, you'll be no stranger to their unique story telling style. The game tackles interesting themes without making any sort of close-ended argument or growing too sinister. It stays light-hearted enough (the humor is superb) to be enjoyed by a wide audience while still tackling ideas that provoke thought.

World of Goo Screenshot

The Switch version of World of Goo runs as well as you'd expect a Wii-ware title from 2008 to run on 2017 technology: flawlessly. The visuals hold up well and still look great despite their age. Audio is also up to snuff and the game's soundtrack is absolutely fantastic. The game can be controlled via touch screen controls with an undocked Switch or with a single vertical joy-con in docked mode. The motion controls stay true to the Wii version of the game, but the joy-con allow for far more precise controlling of goo. You can add a second joy-con for co-op play (unique to the Switch version), which works quite well for this type of game. I had a co-op partner for about half of my playthrough, and there were a number of puzzles that were made easier or had an alternate solution when two players were present.

Despite the diversity of options, my main complaint about World of Goo on Switch is that neither control option works especially well for this game. When using a joy-con, you'll need to move your pointer to the edge of the screen to explore the entire map. The joy-con lose allignment when this happens. Re-alligning is very easy, but it got frusturating with how often I needed to recallibrate and center my pointer. Touch screen controls nullify this issue, but only at the cost of less accurate goo plucking and additional frusturation when I couldn't select small goo balls with my large fingers. I wouldn't consider the controls unusable or even entirely "bad", but they are a little distracting. If this is something you're really concerned about, a mouse or stylus would probably work much better for a game that requires this much precision.

World of Goo Screenshot

I'm a little saddened that I didn't get to enjoy World of Goo much earlier in my gaming career, but I'm happy to be able to play it now. The level design is fantastic and creates a challenging expirience that won't get stale anytime soon. The visuals, audio, and atmosphere are beautiful and intriguing. The ominous plot is fun to unfold but isn't too taxing to follow. Despite a few flaws in the controls department, World of Goo is a fantastic puzzle adventure that I'm happy to be able to play anywhere my Switch might take me.


Pros

  • Fun and challenging gameplay
  • Large puzzle variety and stellar physics
  • Ominous and humorous story
  • Polished and atmospheric visuals, audio, and presentation

Cons

  • Controls can sometimes be frusturating

Verdict

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent games have our official recommendation and our examples of what every game should strive to be. These games feature exciting gameplay, engaging stories (when applicable), intuitive controls and movement, polished and fitting presentations, and good value. Above all else, these games are truly fun to play.

 

Want to know what this score means? Check out our Scoring Guidelines page.

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