A Whole New World … of Goo

It’s Game Week here at iPhone.AppStorm, and all this week we’re going to have tons of reviews, giveaways and other good stuff, all centered around the gaming world!

World of Goo HD is a strange game. Normally when I buy something from the App Store (or any store for that matter) I have a pretty good idea of what it is I’m actually buying before I buy it. When game shopping in the iOS App Store, whether we’re looking for a a puzzle game, action game, multiplayer game or something completely different, people normally flick through the available screenshots and read game descriptions to get an idea of what the game is about before dropping the cash. We’re sensible like that.

Enter, World of Goo: The game you never knew you needed.

About The World

Most games and movies these days are destined to underwhelm us thanks to the way they’re advertised. Trailers gather the funniest jokes and best explosions for us to watch in a 30 second compilation. Reviews tell us what happens at the end. Thankfully, this game doesn’t have that problem.

No, I had no idea what was going on until I played it either.

No, I had no idea what was going on until I played it either.

Each section of the game feels so different from the one before it that I honestly didn’t know what to expect. It had reviews that spoke more about how great it is rather than what the game holds, so I picked it up on recommendation alone.

This is one of those games that was designed with touch screens in mind. While it’s available for the Mac, PC and Nintendo Wii, the experience on your iDevices will be unmatched by other platforms.

At its core, World of Goo is a puzzle game. You’re essentially given the task of helping balls of goo escape tricky situations via exit pipes by sticking the goo together. If the game stopped there, I’d probably want my $4.99 back. World of Goo’s main strength, to me, is in the immersive world it slowly reveals to you.

“A dazzling place I never knew …”

Each level gives you a predetermined sum of goo to work with to reach those elusive exit pipes.

The most common form of goo is the Black Goo. This goo is sticky, and can only be “used” once. Once it’s stuck, it’s stuck for good.

Building your way to freedom.

Building your way to freedom.

Then there’s Green Goo, which is a reusable rubbery goo that’s useful for scaling walls and the like.

White Goo is a water-based goo that hangs from your builds and stretched into ropes.

Finally, there’s Pink Goo balloons you can attach to your builds in order to work against gravity to hold up your builds or carry goo through the air.

One minute you’re in a dreary cave, the next you’re avoiding being chopped up by windmills. Then you’re traversing your way around the intestines of heaven-knows-what. Then you’re crawling out of a monster’s mouth.

The joy of World of Goo is that you simply don’t know what you’re going to be doing next.

“With new horizons to pursue …”

While World of Goo doesn’t feature any true multiplayer gameplay, there is a multiplayer element that can be found in the “World of Goo Corporation HQ.” Within lies tons of goo, all craving higher ground. It is your task therein to create World of Goo’s tallest tower of goo.

In the form of little clouds, you can see the maximum height scored by other gamers who attempted the same goal. It’s a strangely engaging section of the game that will draw you back time and time again, just to show those strangers your goo skills.

My Goo's bigger than yours.

My Goo's bigger than yours.

World of Goo also has an appropriately named OCD section of every level that can be found in the in-game menu. As expected, this section lists everything you need to do to achieve gaming perfection. Depending on the OCD of the gamer, this section may just make World of Goo the last game you ever need to buy.

“A new fantastic point of view …”

World of Goo’s music and art style is what truly makes the game as enjoyable as it is. The feeling of having lost all grasp of normality as you work your way through the game, with the quirky, Angry-Birds-meets-Tim-Burton styled world 2D Boy has created, is one I hope to see more of in future App Store games. Even the menu screens feel atmospheric; whether you’re playing an actual level or you’re choosing which one to play next, it all feels integrated.

Supporting Image

Using different types of Goo together to reach the goal.

If I had to pick fault, I would say that for as atmospheric as the game is, the menu screens feel a little unloved from a practical UI standpoint. Working out when you can touch something and what happens when you do touch it feels a little unclear. I hope that a future update will bring a tighter UI for the main game menus.

In Closing

World of Goo is a perfect fit for the iPhone, and should keep you entertained for weeks. If you pick up the HD version like I did, you’ll also have to hand an iPad version of the game, which will let you play the whole game over again on your gorgeous tablet display.

World of Goo is available for the iPhone & iPod Touch for $2.99, and as a universal app for $4.99.


Summary

A puzzle game where you use Goo to negotiate your way to exits.

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