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World of Goo

Goo-d Grief

World of Goo then, like Lemmings seems to be a game players can expect to have a fairly linear experience with then, right?

Well, yeah – right.

Like Lemmings, World of Goo is a puzzle game built on a set structure. Players have a simple goal (to reach the pipe and evacuate the required number of free Goo balls) and a set of pre-determined tools at their disposal to do it. In Lemmings you have builders and blockers; in World of Goo you have Matchstick Goo and Green Goo.

The problem though is that once you've solved a level then there's really no reason to go back, though you can do so. Getting stuck isn't really a problem as there a multiple paths to choose from through the puzzles and the game gives you an option to skip a puzzle if you fail to solve it repeatedly, but replayability is a bit of an issue to be honest. It always is in puzzle games.

World of Goo tries to get round this in a number of ways, mainly by giving players OCD objectives which are much, much harder than the limitations. These don't just consist of trying to save more Goo balls either, but include things like solving the puzzle in so many moves, in a certain amount of time or without using a certain type of Goo. Results can then be uploaded to an official leaderboard online.

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To an extent, this method will work. There are always going to be people who want to go back and get the higher score – but we're not sure that that'll be the way for most people. For most gamers though, it just isn't the way they want to play; they want to solve the puzzle and move on, not beat their brains out trying to master it to an insane level.

It's the same problem Portal had, of course. Once you've cracked a puzzle one way, that's enough for the majority. Extra objectives might satisfy you for a bit, but not everyone wants to compete in speedrunning competitions.

Thankfully, World of Goo does have a slightly better way round this and the way it works actually encourages you to get interested in the OCD objectives more than you might usually be, which is clever.

The area in question is called the Corporation of Goo and it's basically a big, limitless multiplayer room. Here, all the Goo you save in the game is sent for you to play with and while no real win-scenario is provided, the main idea is to basically build a tower as high and large as you can. In the distance you can see other players on other worlds building their towers and the results are constantly being uploaded online.

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The Corporation of Goo itself is a fun little exercise and a great place to practice your physics balancing skills, though unless you fall into the ultra-competitive mindset it’s doubtful that the game will maintain your attention for more than a few hours, which is a shame.

Conclusions

World of Goo is a fun game and one which oozes more Goo-like charisma than a Botox injection gone wrong. Playing with the Goo can be frustrating at times, but the game has plenty of temporary distractions built in and just a little persistence and cleverness is more than enough to overcome the most complex of obstacles. Like Lemmings, the challenge doesn’t lay so much in finding the right way to solve the level, but in actually realizing your plan.World of Goo World of Goo - 2

2D Boy also wins bonus points for its gutsy approach to DRM (i.e. there isn’t any). You buy the game, you get sent a download link and then there’s no limit on how many times you can download or install the game. It’s a route which leaves the tiny developer open to rampant piracy, but honest and good PC gamers should definitely consider the merits of that method.

Unfortunately, the game itself is fairly short-lived and a focused gamer could probably burn through the entire thing in just a few hours. That’s fair considering the price, but we would have loved to see a bit more of what 2D Boy has to offer.

It’s a shame, because World of Goo is a great game while it lasts – it’s just that there’s nothing here to really draw you back for a second play. All the game would've needed is a rudimentary level editor or sandbox mode to ensure long-lasting appeal.

With those features lacking though, World of Goo has to be judged as what it is; a very accessible, quirky and fun puzzle game which falls down on replayability but redeems itself on sheer cuteness. It’s a great game, but just don’t expect it to hold your attention for very long.

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