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Saturday, February 21, 2009

World of Goo Review


World of Goo may ship in a plain-Jane box that makes it look exactly like the usual third-rate dreck that takes up space on a back shelf in your neighborhood department store, but this physics-based puzzler is one of the most innovative and addictive games to hit the PC in years. Independent developer 2D Boy has hit the jackpot, turning what appears to be a simple building game into what could just be the next casual-gaming obsession right up there with classics such as Tetris and Lemmings.

Actually, World of Goo's concept owes a big debt to Lemmings, the early '90s sensation that involved guiding suicidal green-haired goons across 2D levels loaded with hazards. The objective here is rather similar, although instead of guiding lemmings to an exit in each level, you're leading globs of goo across similarly dangerous terrain to pipes that suck them up. This rather odd task is accomplished by selecting the cute, gibberish-spouting blobs and turning them into nodules in framework buildings that reach for the sky and stretch across yawning pits like sticky scaffolding. When your wobbly structure is close enough to the level exit pipe, all of the goo balls that haven't been used as makeshift building blocks then roll over their former buddies to freedom.

Well, at least to as much freedom as can ever be offered by getting slurped into PVC plumbing. Each level requires you to "save" a set number of goo balls to succeed and move on, so you have to be economical in the amount of goo used as construction material. If you pass enough goo balls through the exit pipe to the glass beaker waiting at the other end, you win to gather goo another day. If you fall short of the required number, you do it all over again, trying to get your goo to safety in a more ecfficient fashion. Final scores are based both on the number of goo balls rescued and the amount of time you spent in the level.

The Good

* Brilliant design loaded with gameplay depth
* Varied levels sporting wide-ranging objectives and different types of goo
* Quirky, surreal sense of humor
* Fantastic, atmospheric soundtrack.

The Bad

* The controls can't always keep up with the action
* Visuals aren't as vibrant as they could be given the cartoony premise.

System Requirements

o Supported OS: Windows® XP or Vista
o Processor: 1GHz or faster
o Memory: 512+MB RAM
o Video: Any 3D graphics accelerator less than 5 years old
o DirectX® Version: 9.0c
o Hard Drive: 100MB


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