Game Reviews

World of Goo Review – Gooey in the Center

(World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation)

World of Goo is a different kind of puzzle game and one that went on to win many awards back when it originally released in 2008. It was originally only released on PC and Nintendo Wii before eventually being released for mobile platforms as well. It’s only fitting that it be released on the Nintendo Switch as well given the nature and design of the system. It’s the best of both worlds, allowing both TV play and the ability to enjoy it in tablet mode. Moving goo balls is as exciting as ever this time around and includes all of the original game with the addition of the new soundtrack mode. I’d played some of World of Goo on the Wii when it originally released and also checked it out on a friend’s iPad at their request. I can say with full honesty that this is my favorite version of the game though as it incorporates what I enjoyed about both of the available playstyles up to this point.

The premise of World of Goo is deceptively simple. You just need to manipulate different kinds of goo balls across the 47 levels to reach the pipe that represents the end of the level. This pipe will suck up goo balls and a set number of them are required to complete the level. Sometimes you’ll be manipulating the same kinds of goo balls in a given level but other times you’ll have different kinds at your disposal. Regardless of the available types, you’ll need to manipulate them to create different kinds of structures to reach the ends of the different levels. You’ll work against the different environments with these structures in some very interesting ways. It can be difficult at times but when you take a step back and just look around the level, you’ll be able to figure out what to do. It may take some patience but one thing that always got me through the more difficult levels was remembering that I had everything I needed at my disposal to complete these levels. I just needed to figure out how to set up the goo balls or how to combine the abilities of the goo balls I had available in the level. You can also skip levels if they prove to be too difficult and simply come back to them.

World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation

World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation

Like the other games from publisher Tomorrow Corporation, you control the game by using the left Joy-Con in the way that Wii Motion Plus remotes worked on the Wii and Wii U. There’s technology inside the Joy-Con controllers that can sense movements, positioning, and use the data to determine where your on-screen cursor should be. The game will begin by having you play the controller on a flat surface for calibration purposes and then you’ll simply hit the ‘minus’ button to center your on-screen cursor. Should you ever need to re-center it, all you have to do is tap the ‘minus’ button again and then you can get back into the action. It controls very well and I really enjoy these controls. I personally think they work much better than the Wii version not only for accuracy but also in terms of comfort. Since you don’t have to mess with a sensor bar, you can sit much more comfortably when you play. I like to have my hand and arm rest on my leg or knee. It makes it easier for precise movements without having to worry about bigger movements. If for some reason you want to play with touchscreen controls then you can! The Nintendo Switch has a multi-touch display just like mobile devices so you’re able to enjoy the game however you want. I personally really enjoy playing with the Joy-Con but did find myself utilizing the touch screen controls on occasion when I wanted to be lazy and just sit back and be more comfortable. It’s also obviously going to be the most precise when you’re touching the screen directly but again, I didn’t have any issues with the Joy-Con controls. I needed to re-center the cursor here and there but it just takes the push of a button to re-center so it’s not really much of an issue.

I was surprised but how much story there was in World of Goo. I never got very far into the game in my previous times with the game but I’ve nearly completed the game on the Nintendo Switch. The story is told through cut scenes mostly and progresses throughout your time in each world. It’s essentially a struggle between the goo balls and the World of Goo Corporation and it has a few twists and turns that pretty neat and unexpected. It’s a lot like the stories of platformers where the gameplay definitely takes priority but it’s still nice that the developer included a story in a puzzle-styled game.

World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation

World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation

Kyle Gabler created the soundtrack for World of Goo and I think it’s so funny that it works so, so well within the game. Many of the tracks were created for short films and other games but Kyle ended up throwing them all into this game and they just somehow click with the atmosphere. The music sounds very epic and also bouncy and poetic at the same time. It achieves a lot for the game’s atmosphere and despite being created with different uses in mind, it works really well for strengthening the atmosphere that the graphics and gameplay work together to build.

The graphics may be very simple for World of Goo but they’re creative and uniquely their own. The levels feel very confidently designed and help flesh out the tone of the game. The goo balls are easy to discern from each other. The goo balls are very cute as are the other visuals in the game. The graphics add a layer of deception to World of Goo because they make the game look almost too cute and casual when in reality the gameplay can get pretty tricky.

Some puzzles can be very difficult and I even found myself checking a guide once or twice. In these scenarios, I was usually overthinking everything though and would feel dumb once I learned the solution. This is definitely a game that just requires patience and thinking. You have every tool you need to solve these puzzles. You just need to visualize everything and think of the possible solutions and try them out. Sometimes what you think won’t work will actually be the solution so you’ll just need to trust your gut, experiment, and try what you’re thinking. You can always hit ‘Retry’ in the pause menu if you want to start over. This helps relieve some of the pressure and helped ease me into trying things that I wasn’t fully confident would work.

World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation

World of Goo, Tomorrow Corporation

There’s a lot of content to enjoy here. There are 47 levels spread across four different worlds and there’s a more difficult way to play too! The ‘Obsessive Completion Distinction’ flags are earned by rescuing more goos, completing the levels under a certain time frame, or by beating the levels in other different ways. It’s going to be more difficult but it’ll be perfect for anyone wanting to prove their skills in World of Goo. There’s also the ‘World of Goo Corporation’ level which is where your extra goos will go when you complete a level. If the level only requires you to send four goos through the pipe but you manage to get eight then that’s four goos that’ll get sent to the ‘World of Goo Corporation’ level. In this level, you can stack up all the goos stored here into a tall tower to showcase your skills in World of Goo.

There’s a lot of content to enjoy in World of Goo and it’s a very worthy purchase on the Nintendo Switch. Not only is it only $9.99 but you’re also able to play it with motion controls or with touch screen controls. There’s also going to be a co-op mode added in a free future update that is supposed to be available within a week or so from the release. That should either be today or some time very soon. You can also enjoy the soundtrack at any time by accessing it in the main menu which is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version. There’s some very difficult puzzles in this game but with each and every one of these you’ll experience that “Aha!” moment. These moments are what make this game so beautiful–despite that sticky goo scattered all over it.

World of Goo

World of Goo
9

Score

9/10

    Pros

    • Cute and unique graphics help build an interesting world
    • Difficult and tightly designed puzzles will keep you guessing at every few turns as new things are introduced and combined in interesting ways
    • Great soundtrack helps further pad out the atmosphere and environments
    • Co-Op mode is being added in a free future update so you can enjoy the puzzles and add some friendly chaos with a friend
    • Great length and amount of content, especially for the price

    Cons

    • Level creation mode would add to the longevity of the title

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