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World of Goo (Wii)

World of Goo (Wii)

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World Of Goo is a freakishly clever physics based puzzle game that was created by a team of only three people (2D Boy). It is perhaps one of the most addictive games yet available on the Nintendo Wii so make sure if you own the console that you read this review!

In World Of Goo you take control of Goo balls with different abilities and the object of the game is to pick them up and connect them together to make architecture such as bridges, walkways, high rises … all with the end goal to get them to an exit placed at one end of every stage. That is basically the whole game detailed in one paragraph but it is this very simple mechanic that becomes so fiendishly addictive. There are some minor variations but the level designs are ingenious and it becomes clear that a small team of only a few people are sometimes capable of outshining a massive developers group of several hundred.

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The storyline is vague, but intentionally so you get your own perception of the world, however there are messages left behind by the Sign Painter, whose commentaries are funny, witty and entertaining. I really don’t want to detail these as it will ruin the impact for Wii owners reading this. All in all, World Of Goo clearly isn’t meant to have an indepth storyline however it compensates for this with some gorgeous environments and hilarious sound effects from the various goo balls. The art style is very striking and it looks like it has taken some inspiration from titles such as Loco Roco, however the animation is taken much further by the developers.

There are around four worlds available and each is home to a batch of uniquely designed levels with different objectives that revolve around using the goo balls in various ways. You immediately learn the overview of the game as you are required to build a pillar reaching straight up to the first level exit. You exit each level by pipes which suck in the goo balls to the next zone. In the first levels the tasks are simple, merely reach the exit without the structure toppling. This actually sounds a lot easier than it is in practise especially as the physics are exceptionally realistic. If you don’t build enough connections and supports and have an understanding of gravity then you will need to start again. As the levels progress, the challenges become more difficult and when you reach the windmill level you are introduced to collision detection. Yes, as the windmill spins, it is rather fatal to your gooey designs … you need to find a way up and over it to escape.

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The design of the goo balls deserves special mention as it is marvellous! Some of them are flammable, some can be connected and reconnected only once, some are bendy, some are elastic, and some even float like blobby air balloons. The variety is almost as broad as your imagination. The game requires you to analyse your surroundings and the task at hand, then you need to ascertain exactly how you approach reaching the exit. You will be required to come up with some creative uses for each of the goo ball species to be successful. Unlike many games, the puzzles are taxing, intelligent and reward the player with repeated attempts.

Each of the four plus worlds have around 9-10 stages each and the single player mode will keep gamers busy for at least 10-15 hours, unless they are a master of puzzle solving. Sometimes the answers require lateral thinking and others require thinking outside the box. Sometimes it is possible to end up stuck on a level for several hours which can lead to much frustration, but it is hard to put this down once hooked, believe me.

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Multiplayer is great fun as you and a friend can play cooperatively in every level and it doesn’t feel like an afterthought, more part of the core package which is refreshing. What enhances this mode even more is the fact that your buddy can leave the game anytime and you don’t pay any penalties. Factor in the WiiConnect24 feature of having all the extra goo balls displayed as a virtual scoreboard for all to see, then you begin to see the thought processes that make up the complete package.

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The camera is controlled by the Wii remote and you merely point to areas on the environment to drag the viewpoint with you. It works very well but I would have liked to have the option to remap to the analog stick as I find this methodology slightly more intuitive.

The only really negative point I can mention would be the lack of editor with the WiiWare version of Goo and with such an environment I think this would be a fantastic addition. 2D boy have publically stated that they would like to offer downloadable level packs for the community but these levels must be created by PC game owners. Understandable perhaps but I still would have liked to see an editor for the Wii.

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World Of Goo is an amazing success story, it shows that you don’t need a massive team of game developers to create something fresh , exciting and extremely addictive. The Wii needed this game because the last few months have seen quite a dry spell on Nintendo’s console. It is crammed with creative, inventive and exhilarating level design and the art direction is wonderfully accomplished. If you are a current Wii owner, then vote with your Wii points and make sure you purchase. 2D boy need to be supported so they can release future masterpieces!

One of the most addictive games I can remember playing, in a very long time.
The graphic style is very polished and the physics are awesome. It runs in pro scan widescreen and the frame rate is consistently high.
Great music which matches the game design perfectly.
With around 10 hours of gameplay as well as cooperative mode and future downloadable packs, the asking price is good value for money. Unfortunately there is no editor.
(Not an Average)
A modern day puzzle masterpiece, if you own a Wii, buy it.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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