Wednesday, 17 August 2011

World of Goo

Following the surmise of the Humble Indie Bundle 3 I wrote for my last post, my hard drive has since become engorged with indie games. However, it must be said that after playing a few of them you begin to notice a reoccurring theme. Much like it's cousin independent cinema, many independent games ooze pretension. Even confessing a taste for indie games these days can feel like you're inadvertently proclaiming a love for skinny mochas and even skinnier jeans. However, 2D Boy's World of Goo bucks this trend expertly, and the only thing you have to worry about World of Goo oozing is goo...lots and lots of goo.

This level's called 'Fisty's Bog', seriously.
Times are changing in the World of Goo. Ominous pipes are springing up everywhere and Goo Balls previously untouched by human civilization are being awoken. You play as the, surprisingly adorable, gelatinous creatures and help them in there naive quest to investigate the pipes, surely they lead to a better place? In order to reach your new cylindrical metal friends you must use your Goo Balls to build towers, bridges and many other remarkably inventive designs. As you move a Goo Ball they will latch themselves onto any other Goo Balls nearby, eventually leading to creaking structures aching under their own weight and swaying perilously in the breeze.

It's difficult to pigeon hole a game like World of Goo, the only classification I can really think to give it is the wonderfully vague 'physics puzzler', though personally I prefer 'goo-em-up'. The later puzzles can get treacherously difficult but the trickier elements are introduced so well you don't seem to realise. The main aim of each level is to get your Goo Balls through the nasties and up into the pipe but each level also poses optional 'OCD' criteria. The OCD challenges boost the difficulty substantially, posing stringent gameplay tasks such as completing a level with very few moves, or in a very low time limit. Interesting for completionists but as the OCD challenges give no rewards I imagine many players will avoid them altogether.

'Ode to a Bridge Builder' in all it's golden glory.
After playing World of Goo the one thing that sticks in my mind is the amazing art style. the cartoon like graphics are infinitely charming and throughout the game the art style shifts to fit the tone of the level. One of the levels in the first chapter, 'Ode to A Bridge Builder', employs a silhouetted chasm with the backdrop of the setting autumnal sun. A lone bugle plays and a strange shiver was sent down my spine as I bridged the gorge with my goo. A reaction I never expected going into such a light hearted game.

With World of Goo 2D boy have created a credit to independent gaming. You'd imagine that creating towers with your Goo Balls would eventually grow tiresome, but the sheer creativeness employed in some of the levels ensure this is impossible. One minute you'll be building a simple tower, but the next you'll be fashioning a balloon supported bridge emerging from a frogs stomach. If you see indie games as a plethora of dark, gritty puzzle platformers I implore you to play World of Goo but be warned, prepare to get attached to those homogeneous little blobs.

Verdict: 4/5

Format: PC, Wii
Publisher: 2D Boy 

Want it? Get it here.

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