World of Goo

aka: Goo no Wakusei
Moby ID: 36702
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

World of Goo is a physics-based puzzle game where players need to build constructions using balls of goo. The original concept is based on the prototype Tower of Goo Unlimited! by Kyle Gabler, one of the developers of this game, created for the Experimental Gameplay Project website.

Rather than a series of puzzles, the game presents the balls of goo as living creatures in a universe they set to explore. They need to find out about the power source of the world they live in and the true meaning behind the Goo Corporation. In most of the levels, the constructions need to reach a pipe that sucks the goo balls out of the level. To succeed, players need to bring over a certain amount of balls or do it within a limited amount of time. There are also OCDs (Obsessive Completion Distinction) where players can aim for secondary, much more difficult goals.

Each level brings entirely new challenges, based on gameplay, environment elements, art style and types of goo balls. Regular balls can be dragged and dropped with the mouse or wii remote to form cohesive connections, but only for a short distance. Because of the physics and the wobbly matter, a solid basis is required. Balls can be picked up and moved around to adapt the constructions. While buildings sometimes timebugs will appear. When clicked, they allow the player to go back in time for one move. The types of goo differ greatly in abilities, connections and response to physics. Some of the goo balls introduced gradually are ivy goo (attach and detach at will), albino goo (four connections), balloon goo (fly upwards), water goo, pokey goo, fuse goo, bone goo, and much more. In some levels, sleeping balls can be woken up to join the construction. Constructions not only bend, but can also be broken when gravity gets the upper hand. In later chapters, players acquire a whistle that can be used to lure all loose goo balls in a certain direction.

More of the world is revealed through cut-scenes and sequences during gameplay, always with a humourous nod. There are five main chapters with different levels that follow chronologically for one year in the world of goo. The environment is changed to reflect the season. Often, players will save more balls of goo than required. These are stored in the World of Goo Corporation, a separate level reminiscent of the original prototype the game is based on. There, players can use extra goo balls to build a construction as high as possible. With an online connection, it is possible to view the height of other players. In-game hints are provided through signs that can be clicked and contribute to the story.

The Wii port supports up to four players simultaneously in cooperative gameplay. The PC port is single-player only but features online leaderboards where players can compare their scores to one another.

Spellings

  • World of Goo: Корпорация Гуу! - Russian spelling
  • グーの惑星 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

182 People (152 developers, 30 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 91% (based on 75 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 145 ratings with 2 reviews)

If there is hope, it lies in the indies

The Good

Once upon a time, there was a hill where cute little balls of goo lived. One day, they found a mysterious pipe. Where can it only lead? They decided to find out.

World of Goo is a physics-driven puzzle game, which is probably best described as an unlikely combination of Bridge Builder and Lemmings. The basic game mechanic is very simple – balls of goo can be attached to other balls of goo, creating different structures. Your task is to build this structure to a pipe which, once you reach it, starts sucking. All unattached goo balls crawling over the structure get sucked in and you can move to the next level. Sounds like another boring puzzle game, doesn't it? But it's not “just another puzzle game”. Oh no, not at all.

World of Goo, a game created by an independent studio – just two guys, actually! – takes the somewhat stale genre of puzzle games, looks at it carefully, learns what is wrong and then goes its own way, jumping over all the pitfalls with extraordinary grace, charm and skill – and a somersault or two just for the fun of it. The game, you see, is not just a series of levels, it is a wild torrent of imagination let loose.

There aren't two levels alike in World of Goo. There is no filler. Each and every level is hand-crafted with precision. Each and every level somehow manages to have its own distinctive look – they are beautiful and they are memorable. And each and every level, most importantly, brings something new to the game, something you haven't seen before and something you probably did not expect.

Your goo balls often stumble upon various mechanisms and your task is to figure out what exactly they do and how to use them to your advantage. The game's physics engine is vastly more sophisticated than you would think and allows the level designers to create pretty much anything they can think of. There is, for example, a level that rotates. A level that takes place atop a see-saw. Or one in which your task is to unroll a red carpet for a very special guest. And that's one of the least bizarre levels in the game.

Another source of innovation are different types of goo – there is not only standard black goo, but also green vine goo (which can be removed from the structure and reattached) or albino goo (can connect to more goo balls than black) and many, many more, including such gems as balloon goo, flammable goo, beautiful goo, dead goo and even shy yellow goo balls with commitment anxiety.

And still there is so much more – I could write pages and pages describing the delights of individual levels, but I couldn't bear spoiling the fun of discovering them for anyone. You will have to trust me – the fourth chapter alone is so wonderfully innovative you really have to experience it yourself. The game's levels are also linked through signs written by a peculiar Sign Painter, who provides hints (sometimes) and takes you through the game's story. I think.

Once you double-click the game's setup icon, you are sucked into the game's world. A fairly bizarre world where the friendly, yet somehow sinister World of Goo Corporation manufactures and distributes its goo products. The game's undeniable charm is the result of its incredible attention to detail. Pretty much everything in the game is guaranteed to put a smile on your face or make you chuckle from the moment it starts loading (the list of things the game apparently does while initializing, by the way, includes “homogenizing goo”, “swapping time and space”, “testing ozone” and “debating games as art”). The whole setting, art, cutscenes and the unpredictable story they tell (which somehow revolves around consumerism, beauty pageants, electricity, digestive tracts and spam) as well as the Sign Painter's messages all have the same quirky quality and charm which I am at a loss to describe.

The game's artwork is simply beautiful, full of amusing details and overall extremely cute-if-somewhat-bizarre. The music (created by the same insanely talented person) is also fantastic – so rich, so textured and so unpredictable I would swear most of the time it is not just a one-minute loop I am listening to. And it is. Really. Do yourself a favour, visit 2D Boy's website and watch the trailers, they really are worth a few thousand words.

So how about length and replayability? There are four chapters and an epilogue (so far; a “moon chapter” is apparently in progress). The game's difficulty is set to a just perfect level, neither too easy nor too hard – you should never get stuck for more than a couple of minutes, as there are many subtle hints to guide you if you aren't sure what to do.

Going through the game doesn't actually take very long, just a couple hours (of first class entertainment, though!); replayability, however, is cleverly boosted in two ways: each level has a minimum number of goo balls you have to save to be able to continue to the next level and every extra ball you collect over this limit is sent to the World of Goo Corporation. In the Corporation, you can build a tower from those extra balls – and if you are connected to the internet, you can see the heights of other people's towers as clouds floating around your own and try to beat them by building a higher tower. Addictive, simple and fun.

Each level also has a set OCD criterion (as in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), which is typically a number of goo balls to be saved, or, less often, a maximum number of moves or maximum time in which you must finish the level. If you meet the OCD criterion, the level is marked with a flag on the level selection screen and you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because the OCD criteria are often diabolical. Sometimes you only need to perfect the particular goo-building skill of that level; often, though, reaching the OCD involves some clever trickery (and I am not referring to cheating) and outside the box thinking – some of the criteria actually seem utterly impossible at a first glance, but aren't; the a-ha moment when you finally figure it out is priceless. Collecting OCD flags quickly becomes an addictive business that is certain to make you sleep deprived for at least a week.



The Bad

Nothing, really. The game is just perfect as it is. Nitpickers could point out that the interface, flawless during normal gameplay, can occasionally be a little annoying for the OCD hunter, but don't listen to those addicts. There is nothing wrong with World of Goo.



The Bottom Line

There is no other way to say it: World of Goo is a charming, utterly fantastic, original, daring, funny, addictive and extremely enjoyable little game. Considering this is a first release of an independent studio, it sets the bar for indie developers insanely high (and kicks the large corporation's arses in the process). World of Goo justly deserves to become a smash hit and a classic fondly remembered for many years to come. I take my hat off to you, 2D Boy.

Windows · by plumifrons (95) · 2008

Goonderful!

The Good
Garage games are rising, and that means great news for the players. Some studios like 2D Boy are giving to the players some incredible games, with just great ideas instead of amounts of money. World of Goo is really simple, just some creatures (something like amoebas) trying to reach some objectives, building structures by sticking themselves or exploding things to get access to other areas. There are different "amoebas" with different "powers", so, you'll need to deal with your possibilities and complete every level of the game.

There are many levels, and they're not just puzzle levels. Every level has different things to do, and you don't have to do the same thing twice. We've got many puzzle games with thousands of levels, but you have to do the same thing all the time, just more difficult when you're progressing and nothing more. This is not the case, World of Goo has maybe less levels, but they're unique, you don't have to do the same things over and over and the difficult increases as you progress too. That means more fun!

Music is something to mention apart. The soundtrack suits with the essence of the game. Danny Elfman's influence is evident, and the music reminds me some games like Fable. Tim Burton's influence could be appreciated in the design of the game (especially in the sequences between some levels or episodes). The story is quite absurd but original, and you'll feel affection with the goo balls soon (specially the green ones).

Levels are difficult but not impossible. Take your time to understand how the goo balls works and how the physics works, so, it's possible that you'll need much more time in the first levels than in the last ones. Sometimes you'll think "how could I do that? it's impossible!" (a classic of puzzle games) but there's an obvious way to solve the puzzles, none of them are abstract and you know from the first move what you have to do.

-The sign painter.

The Bad
World of Goo is a great game, but not a perfect game. To start with, I didn't like the scroll. When you move your cursor to the limits of the screen it will move to that direction, but it does before you reach the screen limit, so, gameplay is not as perfect as it should be, because sometimes you need to be fast picking a certain goo, and you could fail in your purpose because of the scroll.

Another bad thing of the game, which is related with the previous one. There are many goos in some levels, running through the structure that you're making and you need a concrete one (to be precise, I'm talking about the red ones which are balloons) in a concrete time as I said (and you need to be fast). The problem appears when there are many goos running up and down, it's really difficult to take the goo that you're looking for, because he has to be alone to be taken.

To finish with, there are enough levels, right, but some of them are just like tutorial levels, they teach you how to do something or how some kind of goos works. Other levels are like bridge-levels because you only have to make one move (or a few) to see what happens (it's good for the story, but nothing more). Summarizing: Maybe one more chapter would be perfect!

-The sign painter.

The Bottom Line
Prepare your brain for this game, and prepare yourself esteem for its increase when you've finished it. World of Goo is original, there's no doubt about that, and maybe one of the best garage games ever made, maybe a little short but enough to be fun and not repetitive as many other puzzle games with thousands of boring levels doing the same thing on and on.

Build your tower of goo and have fun! -The sign painter.

Windows · by NeoJ (398) · 2009

Discussion

Subject By Date
Anyone play it? Matt Neuteboom (976) Feb 6, 2009
Soundtrack Kabushi (261192) Jan 21, 2009
Music Sciere (930487) Nov 3, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

World of Goo appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Editing the game

In the Properties directory in the World of Goo install directory there's a text file called "config" where you can edit some things. At the top of the file the programmers have left a humorous warning saying: "IMPORTANT WARNING: If you edit this file, your computer will probably explode. Your friend, the High Resolution Sign Painter"

Meat Boy

For the iPad version a challenge was launched to find the hidden Meat Boy character (from Super Meat Boy) in one of the levels. The first to report the correct location received a download code for the iPad version.

Savegame bug

The initial pre-order version contained a bug where clicking "Reset" could delete all the savegames. This was soon fixed with a new download of the entire game.

Steam versions

People who downloaded the pre-order version could use their activation keys to register the game in Valve's distribution application Steam and download it again there. That way, those who got the game early could also have the achievements that were introduced with the Steamworks integration. The initial Steam release was only available for two days for European customers (13th and 14th October 2008). Because the retail European version would only be released in February 2009, the publisher demanded it to be pulled from Steam. Customers who bought it during the initial two days could continue to use it and worldwide downloads were still available from the developers' website 2dboy.com.

US retail Macintosh version

At some retailers, boxed Windows/Macintosh hybrid versions of World of Goo were sold that accidentally contained a Windows installer only. This included boxes sold by the Apple Store, Best Buy US, some German game shops, and possibly others. However, the Macintosh users were not left out in the rain as the developers offered a free Mac download to those affected, besides the usual publisher replacement option, that is.

Awards

  • GamePro (Germany) / GameStar (Germany)
    • 26th February 2009 - Special Jury Award
  • GameSpy
    • 2008 – #4 Wii Game of the Year
    • 2008 – #6 PC Game of the Year
    • 2008 – PC Puzzle Game of the Year
    • 2008 – WiiWare Game of the Year

Information also contributed by MZ per X and Tom Hell

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Nintendo Switch added by mars_rulez. iPhone added by MrMamen. OnLive added by firefang9212. iPad added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Solid Flamingo, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, FatherJack.

Game added October 8, 2008. Last modified March 29, 2024.