Review: World of Goo (WiiWare, Windows)

On Friday night, I downloaded World of Goo from the WiiWare channel. It has consumed most available moments on the 1st floor TV ever since.

The quick explanation is that World of Goo is like Lemmings but with Goo. If you enjoyed Lemmings, you’ll enjoy World of Goo.

The game is a relatively simple physics puzzle, using the Wii remote to guide and direct goo. In each level, you are given a basic goal of getting a predetermined number of goo balls into a tube. Once a goo structure nears the tube, a suction is created that both helps to hold the goo in place and sucks any attached (but not used as part of the structure) goo balls into the tube. Goo structures are created by dragging and dropping goo balls to form trusses, ropes, balloons, and towers. Goo is not the most rigid stuff, as you might expect, so you spend a fair amount of time shoring it up through architectural means. Extra goo balls beyond the level goal get sent to your World of Goo Corporation area, where you can build them into a tower. There are hints that building a high tower will unlock some sort of minigame. Also, from the World of Goo Corporation, you should be able to see clouds representing your friends’ World of Goo Corp. structures. (I can’t vouch for this as none of my Wii friends have goo structures yet. I’m also just assuming that this will be clouds from my Wii friends and not just from the people who play the game on my console.)

Controls are all done through point and click of the Wii remote. There are no waggle controls (that I’ve found so far). It’s a one player game, and aside from comparing to others in the World of Goo Corp area, there’s no opportunity for player interaction.

Gameplay aside, the aesthetic of World of Goo is very pleasing. It’s quite Tim Burton-esque. The animations and graphics are darkly adorable. Storyline (as well as gameplay) is primarily conveyed to you via signs that animate with exclamation points until you click to read them. The signs are written by The Sign Painter, a character who continues to become more ominous as the game progresses. While signs initially give you good advice and gameplay tips, in chapter 2, the signs sometimes offer a seeming tip that will actually destroy your progress. I get the same kind of intermittent chill from The Sign Painter that I got from GlaDOS in Portal’s early stages.

I’m only just beginning chapter 3 of the game. As best as I can tell, I’m about 45% through the game, not counting the potential mini-game or completing the “OCD” (Obsessive Compulsive Distinction) challenges for each level. So, you might finish the game faster than you like. Still, I think it’s worth the download.

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