Title: World of Goo
Approximate Time Spent playing at time of writing: 8 hours
Modes of play: Single Player, Online Leaderboards
For once there’s already a great review of this game written out there on the internet that ties in with a lot of what I’d say about it. So I’m going to be a little lazy and direct you over there. Don’t worry, it’s a great read!
Back yet? So yes, World of Goo is another single-player challenge title, where the challenges tend to be quite easy to solve, although a few levels have the obfuscated mechanics issues of Braid and so can stump you for a while, but only because you cannot work out how various things interact, other than through brute-force ‘trial and error’ for the most part. But essentially solving ‘how to’ do the levels is generally quite simple, too simple to really be considered a ‘puzzler’, yet the game manages to make it incredibly annoying to actually implement your solution due to the awkward controls and random goo ball selection. The “undo” clicks are even more awkward – if ever a game actually wanted a ‘save state’ mechanic, that I’ve lamented in games that might have otherwise interesting action sections, it is this! Because the ‘action’ part is so annoying, you generally just feel relief when you get through a level, rather than any sense of fiero.
The agoner challenge-seeker in me however made me persist far longer with this title than I otherwise would have done. I was driven to try and complete it in my normal manner, even though I wasn’t having much ‘fun’ especially. The rewards just really weren’t enough to deal with the irritation of actually playing it! The thought of actually re-playing levels over and over to try to get the “OCD” achievements would be even more horrible. Eventually though, even I ran out of patience only two levels before the end, as I was faced with a couple of levels where I instantly could see the solution, but the utter chore of implementing it precisely enough, which would require trying them over and over to get it right, made the rest of the game feel like a breeze. It’s really quite damning coming from someone of my nature, that the challenge was so bad that I didn’t even want to put up with it enough to get the satisfaction of finishing it!
One extra thing I ought to mention is that despite the Steam integration, I still had a lot of problems getting this game to run on my PC – running Windows 7 and a widescreen monitor. The game is so badly coded that I had to resort to manually editing config files to even get it to display properly. Perhaps this is what retro gaming is about these days? Making me feel like I’m back running DOS and Windows 3.1 ?… *sigh* In any case I still couldn’t get the game to display perfectly no matter how I tinkered with it, but I did at least get it to be playable in the end.
Competitive Gaming Design Review: N/A.
Competitive Game Review: N/A. There is some kind of “Tower of Goo” online leaderboard, and there’s achievements, but there’s not enough emphasis to really consider this a game.
Interactive Story: Very low. There’s some kind of background story going on but it’s hardly very engaging.
Toy/Experience: Neutral. As discussed, due to the design the mechanics are irritating rather than fun to play around with, and the levels leave little room for paidic playstyles at all – they are all very linear and for the most part ‘single solution’ only. There is a very nice style to the game in it’s music and graphics however.
Other good reviews found: Insomnia (as linked above)