After confining itself to the iPad, the goo finally seeps out to the rest of iOS…
Originally released for PC, and then on Wii to critical acclaim. 2D Boy brought World of Goo to the iPad in 2010. Now, the game has been released for iPhone and iPod Touch (HD on iPhone 4/iPod Touch 4th gen/iPad, and SD on iPhone 3GS and 3rd generation iPod Touch).
The game seemed destined for the touch devices. Yes it played great with a mouse, and even better with a WiiMote. But the direct touch control of the iPad was a match made in heaven. It seemed strange that it didn’t come earlier, and in a way I’m glad 2D Boy took their time to get it spot on. That, and the fact that we had the excellent Moonlights – a similar premise – to sooth the wait.
For those that haven’t played previous formats of the game, World of Goo is a physics based puzzle game where the aim is to get globules of goo from one part of the level, to the level’s exit – shown as an opening to a pipe. Getting to the pipe of course is the catch. You can’t just pick up the goo, throw it and hope for the best. Instead, the goo must be built up into chains, creating shapes that can bridge gaps or wind round obstacles within the environments and reach out towards to it. Once in range, the pipe will start sucking up the goo. To complete a level you must hit a certain quota of this sticky stuff, and so, the less goo you use to construct with, the more goo blobs you can suck up and save.
Like many physics based puzzle games, gravity and other forces come into play. Whether it’s bracing goo together to climb a chasm; creating a long chain of goo in high winds, or bridging water; you’ll marvel at the effects the environments have on the goo, and your construction skill. It’s this grasp of physics that 2D Boy possess, that allows them to surprise you with every turn. The challenges always delight and rarely become stale.
The fantastic gameplay is only matched by the fantastic presentation. The way 2D boy have managed to give life and personality to what are essentially slimy balls, is nothing short of genius. As their namesake suggests, the game is not three dimensional, and instead goes for a 2D cartoon look and fell. That Flash-like style can often come across as flat. Not in the 2D sense of the word, but instead can severely lack any flair or originality. World of Goo’s quirky art style ensures that this doesn’t happen.
The puzzles of the game exhibit the clever minds of the developers at work. But that rich imagination doesn’t stop there, it continues through to every inch of the visual style. From the goo itself, the surrounding environments, the supporting physics systems, to the music and sound. These elements all come together to form a beautifully odd world to immerse yourself in. As the sign painter alludes to often, the goo almost looks good enough to eat!
As I mentioned above, the touch control is the best option for this game, bar none. Grabbing goo and manipulating it to build your various structures, is a breeze. It’s a little more fiddly on the iPhone version compared to the iPad, however you can pinch to zoom in or out of a level for more accuracy.
Along with the support for the smaller iOS devices comes a new feature not previously available on the iPad, and that is level skip. I’m a little on the fence about its inclusion. On the one hand it takes away the reward for finding the solution to completing each level before moving on to the surprise of what the next level has in store. But on the other, it means should you get stuck (which you will), you can avoid the frustration and skip that level for instant fun on the next. Overall though, I feel that anything that means that you won’t miss some of the best puzzles and level design in a game ever, is a good thing.
World of Goo is a fantastic game, and one that you would be crazy to miss. The five chapters will keep you entertained for some time (unless of course you cheat with the skip option), and after you are done you can join the rest of the games players by building the tallest tower of goo in the WOG Corp mode. Part puzzle game, part platformer, and always guaranteed to raise a smile… it’s a real gem. Albeit one that’s covered in gloop.