One of the finest videogaming experiences iOS has to offer. Brilliant in every conceivable way.
World of Goo Review
by on April 15, 2011
World of Goo is an amazing game. Our apologies if you treat a review like a movie, carefully covering up the rating and wanting to be surprised at the end, perhaps when we reveal, in a shock twist, that “actually, the game’s quite brilliant, despite its penchant for constantly showcasing the developer’s socks”. No, this time we want to make things clear right away: if you’re an iPad owner who likes games, buy World of Goo immediately. While we’re happy for you to stick around and read our review, you could spend that time discovering new species of Goo Ball and helping them on their great adventure.
If you’re not already up to your elbows in Goo and want to know more before splashing out a few quid, World of Goo is a physics-based puzzle game. But this isn’t like any physics puzzler you’ve played before (on a platform that – let’s face it – isn’t exactly suffering from a shortage of physics-based puzzle games). Instead, World of Goo drops you into a surreal, sometimes dark, often beautiful world that appears to have erupted fully formed from the twisted mind of a mutant fusion of Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam.
The basic premise is simple: use Goo Balls to create structures that lead to a pipe, whereupon remaining Goo is sucked up to Goo Heaven. Initially, levels task you with building simple towers or bridges, but the concept has so much scope that, when combined with the evocative, varied environments, you’re regularly presented with something exciting and fresh. You’ll soon discover new kinds of Goo Ball – forcing you to rethink strategies – and many hazards, such as complex landscapes, dangerous mechanical implements and inhospitable weather conditions.
Sooner or later, you’ll even start empathising with Goo. There’s a tremendously beautiful red-tinted level fairly early on where you have to construct a bridge using Water Goo Balls that only have one ‘arm’ and so form a linear strand of Goo. Balloon Goo Balls help to suspend your fragile structure, which fights the violently blustery conditions, and it’s almost heartbreaking when your Goo Balls venture too close to whirring windmill blades – although this only makes you want to redouble your efforts and try the level again.
Crucially, it’s also surprisingly hard to get frustrated by World of Goo, despite the game offering relatively little help. This is mostly down to smart level design – once you understand the game’s basic mechanics, you can often explore levels and figure out what you need to do; if not, there’s no penalty for experimenting and playing the same level numerous times. Additionally, the entire game is infused with a smart, quirky sense of humour that ensures you engage with it throughout. You’ll regularly spot signs from the mysterious Sign Painter, who offers valuable hints and jokes that aid and amuse in equal measure. This combination of perfect physics, great controls, beautiful and imaginative environments and musical score (which effortlessly shifts from moody, sweeping ambiance to lively, jaunty numbers, depending on the nature of the level) makes World of Goo feel remarkably ‘complete’ as a world. Despite the clearly absurd nature of what you’re experiencing, suspension of disbelief is easy to achieve.
World of Goo is simply an utter joy. Only avoid buying it if you don’t own an iPad or have already played the game to death on another platform. Mind you, the iPad is the perfect place to experience the delights of Goo, so even if you’ve explored the Wii original, we still recommend reacquainting yourself with huge Goo tongues emerging from giant frogs, or Beauty Goo being sent to the grinder before the game extols the virtues of plastic surgery on long-thought-dead sentient power stations. Yes, this really is a weird game – but also a great one.
Download this app: World of Goo for iPad
Review supplied by Tap! Magazine