Miniview: World of Goo (PC)

I love:
…the story. It’s not comparable to many other games I’ve played, but only due to the format; told through the very occasional cutscene, but most frequently through signs dotted about the landscape, it’s… again, it’s writing-on-the-wall, or GlaDOS’ voice through the speakers. You do things, or not, and the game talks to you. That style just isn’t the same as Final Fantasy N, or Dragon Quest, so it can’t be compared. For all its probably more realistic as a way of showing a story, the world isn’t really sensible, even by game standards, and the game admits it. Hilarity ensues.
…the integration of puzzle and story. Or something like that. I mean, this game is more like Half-Life than Puzzle Quest; what you do is very obviously what’s happening in the world, like Half-Life and its non-cutscene cutscenes, and very unlike Puzzle Quest and its ‘I’m gonna fight you now! *BEJEWELLED*’ disconnect.
…MOM.

I like:
…the sign-painter. He, or she, accounts for the majority of the text in the game, mostly with amusing observations, but he also serves as a very good method of telling the player what they need to know, such as explaining some of the differences between the goo species.
…the many types of goo, above and beyond the common-or-garden grey-black goos from the original Tower of Goo game. There are balloonlike goos, goos that form attachments more readily, goos that act like water drops, combustible goos, reusable goos, exploding goos, somewhat-pointless goos, goos that stick at things, goos you can fling at stuff…

…tower-building. Completing levels with more goos collected than the requirement gives you goo to build a tower with, a la Tower of Goo.
…the music. Mostly. About half of it is arrangements of the same theme; that I dislike the original form of that theme, and yet love most of the arrangements, is probably testament to the composer’s skill.

I loathe:
…not finding out what the sign-painter was doing. Or about whatever the player is supposed to be. Granted, it probably wouldn’t be possible to answer those in any way, shape or form that isn’t disappointing, but it’s just a little jarring.
…not being able to use anything but the common-or-garden goo for building towers. Not being able to screw around with those types outside of the puzzles they appear in, at that.
…not being able to see other users’ clouds at the World of Goo Corporation building. I could in the demo, but is my tower really that tiny compared to all the others in existence?

Verdict:
The demo doesn’t really give the full game its due; whilst there are hints of how the game will continue, in the playable chapter of the demo, the game only really starts coming into its own in the second chapter and beyond. That said, the demo is a good introduction to the game’s mechanics; if you like what you see there, the game only gets better.
If, like me, you weren’t overly impressed with the demo, it can still turn out to be a great game. If you’re worried, though, see if you can’t find a friend with a copy themselves, and ask to play through the second chapter. Things really only kick off from there.

1 Comment

  1. Scott Carmichael said,

    March 10, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I just reviewed World of Goo and I can agree that is indeed an odd title. Nothing spectatcular like so many critics have said…but it does have a certain charm to it. The “MOM” part really reminded me of Portal’s GlaDOS and the goofy, random “comedy” aspects of the game felt stale (really, does every casual game have to employ the same bizarre, quirky, Juno-esque weirdness to separate itself from other games? *sigh*)

    I also thought it’s interesting you brough up the point of using other goo types to build structures. There were several stages when having the ability to blow apart bridges/towers/etc. would have been incredibily useful (using a few well-placed flammable good balls). The whole game sorta reeks of that though – interesting initial concepts that make you go, “Hmmmm…” and then seeing it action makes you go, “Ehhhh…”


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