World of Goo Game Review by Tim Peters
Game Rating = 5/5 Balls
World of Goo by 2D Boy must be seen to be believed. It started in 2005 as Tower of Goo; just another rushed-together game in the Experimental Gameplay Project. But thanks to its runaway success, this prototype mutated into a complete game that defies expectations and demands attention. World of Goo is a construction/puzzle game like nothing you’ve played before, and nothing you’ll ever play again.
In each of World of Goo’s stages, all you have to do is get the little balls of goo from their starting base to a pipe somewhere else in the level. Building towers and bridges and whatever else the demented designers have in mind for each level is as simple as dragging one ball of goo to another ball of goo. But these aren’t your usual building blocks. They sway, they collapse, they shudder. They’re alive and they’re always watching you. Even when you sleep.
You never reach the goal the same way twice in World of Goo. Sometimes you have to build tall, sometimes wide, sometimes around things, and sometimes even move them around. And it’s always something different. And just when you think there couldn’t possibly be any other ways of playing with the goo balls, another new species of goo ball promptly introduces itself and throws everything you thought knew about the game out the window.
One thing World of Goo doesn’t do is take itself too seriously. The unseen Sign Painter offers hints, advice, and fourth-wall smashing in the signs strewn about the levels. Picasso-inspired people blithely play with dangerous World of Goo Corporation products. The levels in the game can be played through or skipped and revisited. Or for diehard goo architects, there are OCD (Obsessive Completion Distinction) criteria for collecting goo balls. The levels whimsically throw in everything from giant spinning stone heads to a blatant parody of the frog from Zuma. From subtle satire to broad farce, there’s enough humor for everyone.
Not only does World of Goo play like nothing else out there, it also looks like nothing else out there. Kyle Gabler is a one-man environment machine, spitting out a world of creatures that look like extras from The Nightmare Before Christmas – creepy but strangely cute. The genre-bending music is as perfect a soundtrack as you could conceive for a game about building goo constructions, and the organic bloops, pops, and shouts from the goo balls constantly reinforce that all of these gooey things are very much alive.
What else needs to be said about World of Goo? It never gets boring, it never shows you anything you’ve seen before, and it looks like it’s worth $30 more than 2D Boy’s asking price. And it might even teach you the meaning of life. If that isn’t worth a 5 out of 5 rating, I don’t know what is.