Nov 4, 2009

[Games] World of Goo (PC)

World of GooA good game becomes such because it has a great hook - something that draws in players, and ultimately a good game engine upon which the entire gaming experience is built. An ever better game gets players to learn something new or use parts of their brains that they don't normally get to exercise without taking away from the whole "fun" aspect of the game.

Many puzzle games try to aim for this balance of fun and merit. A game can be intellectually rewarding but is ultimately not fun to play or it can become ridiculously fun without contributing to the betterment of the person. Not many games can figure out how to balance these two elements but there's still a generous number who have managed to do just this over the years.

Thank the starts for that fact this one definitely one of the better games and one I'm glad to invest time in.

World of Goo is a puzzle game for the PC, Mac, Linux and Wii systems based around this cute little goo balls (they even have eyes) with a singular purpose - get as many of the goo balls to the pipe at the end of the course. Now to get to the pipe, you'll need to build a variety of constructs while navigating different obstacles, all the while using the goo balls themselves as building materials. And thus the player is made to deal with that classic question of how to balance the building side of things in order to actually reach the two while trying to save as many goo balls as possible as one reaches for the pipe.

Beyond the relative cuteness of the goo balls, the game's main claim to fame is its pretty awesome physics engines that determines just how each goo ball structure will stand or even fall depending on how the weight of the structure itself along with that of the various goo balls still moving around the construct gets distributed. Through in occasional conditions like change in wind speed or the addition of new obstacles and you get a pretty respectable challenge. Additional stages introduce the player to new types of goo balls, which inevitably means new types of challenges, thus keeping the game rather dynamic and quite new in terms of its approach.

As much as it is a puzzle game in its own right, it's also a game that requires a lot of skill as you'll find yourself working with somewhat limited resources as one tries to liberate as many goo balls as possible. Then of course there's the whole physics angle to things since cost-cutting in terms of number of goo balls may lead to catastrophic collapses of your towers or other structures at key moments in the build process.

It's a devilishly fun game and one that I didn't immediately expect to enjoy, but in the end I did. It takes a little getting used to in terms of how to effectively manipulate the goo balls and to learn what does and doesn't work in terms of your goo structures and the variety of ways one can organize the balls. You can read up on the game strategies as much as you want but there's nothing like learning how to play it yourself and really seeing the quirkiness of the goo balls and how they behave in the various environments.

With at least 5 chapters worth of game levels, you're in for a very rewarding game as long as you keep your wits about you.

World of Goo gets 4 pretty goo balls out of a possible 5.

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