If Tim Burton made a video game and Danny Elfman made the music to accompany it, that game would be World of Goo.
The object of the game is to get balls of goo to a pipe entrance on each stage. It’s a bit like Lemmings, except that the goo are a bit less mobile and need a lot of help. Players build structures by constructing and stringing the goo in different formations to reach the pipe. As stages get cleared, different types of goo get introduced.
There’s the basic gray goo, which can only be stuck to each other once, green goo, which can be stuck and re-stuck again but have “commitment issues”, giant goo which need to be broken up, droplet goo which act like droplets, and a the list goes on. The genius of the game is the multiple ways players can work with their goo balls.
While there’s no blatant tutorial mission, the game does a fine job of introducing the player to the game’s mechanics a few pieces at a time. Understandably, the first chapter is easy and makes the game seem too simple, but the rest of the chapters range from medium challenges to ones that I had me scratching my head to ones that I had to sleep on before getting an “ah hah!” moment.
World of Goo shows that a game doesn’t need to have high definition 3D graphics and booming surround sound in order to be good. The humor and nuggets of story as well as the thrill of unlocking a new stage are enough to make the game addictive. Just who is this mysterious sign painter? Is he good or bad?
The perfect combination of the dark yet whimsical graphics and fantastic music makes it hard to believe that World of Goo is not a first-party game, but rather an indie one. The production values are amazing right down to the main menu. Kudos to the 2 (sometimes 3) man team for creating something so different. For 1500 Wii points ($15), World of Goo is a steal. The game is so good, in fact, that I might even buy the PC verison as well.
What Portal was to the PC and Braid was to Xbox Live, World of Goo is to WiiWare. If you’re on the fence about World of Goo, the PC demo includes the first chapter for free.
Images courtesy of 2D Boy.