World of Goo(1)

Genre: Puzzle
Year: 2008
Developed by: 2D Boy
Published by: 2D Boy
Platforms: Wii, PC, iOS, Android
Feeling Like: World of Good

Another entry on the 500 that was made by only a few individuals. In the recent wake of EA shutting down Visceral, and Runic Games closing their doors, it’s enormously impressive that three people managed to squeeze out one of the highest rated puzzle games of our time. Simple on the surface, deceptively deep and deviously difficult in later stages, World of Goo is a masterpiece of game design. Since I can be as dumb as a door nail, it was mandatory that I find a partner to help me wade through this seamless swamp of slickness.

Thankfully Steve mutually felt that a quick level or five of World of Goo during breaktime at Neverblue was a good way to recharge our mental batteries. To traverse through the 50 levels without error would be able to brush aside all of life’s problems in a single breath; this is a difficult game. It’s the type of adventure that’s best met with patience and appreciation, rather than a desire to succeed. You’ll often find yourself nailing the solution right away, but not quite able to get your tower of goo balls to line up properly. You’ll instantly grasp the concept of the pink balloon goos, but not the best way to use them. If I was better at math, physics, architecture, puzzles and video games, I would’ve breezed through this game in a matter of hours.

World of Goo(3)
But I’m not, so I didn’t.

It’s impossible not to admire 2D Boy Studios for creating such a unique, original title. To even call them “Studios” would be inaccurate, as the entire company was two people and the space they created it was anywhere that had free Wi-Fi. But budget and resources be damned, they had a good idea and that’s worth more than a multi million dollar budget any day of the week.

The music and presentation are slyly effective. The songs remind me of a slightly depressed Edvard Grieg, full of wistful notions and blunt observation. The ever present Goo Corporation provides a potential antagonist, but isn’t necessary to your enjoyment.

The literal peak of fun I had with World of Goo was trying to use blunt force, rather than smarts. An overly produced bridge, or stupid looking tower would being to shake and quiver, not unlike a Jenga tower about to fall to its imminent demise. If it landed, fantastic. If not, bouts of laughter and a quick restart erased any frustration we experienced.

Not every level was a matter of “build bridge here”, or “create new miracle of gravity-defying structure here”. Some levels are small rooms that spin, others will have giant wheels aiding you in conquering verticality. It’s frequently refreshing, it not unforgiving in parts.

The Wiimote is a perfect weapon of choice, so if you’re going to tackle World of Goo, I’d recommend that way of playing it. I’d also recommend you bring a very patient and creative partner!

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