World of Goo

Making a tower in one of the levels of the World of Goo Making a tower in one of the levels of the World of Goo

Roughly speaking, there are two types of computer games for me: those that you need to be good at the gamepads and those that you need to be good at strategy. Most of the new computer games belong to the former category, whereas I am mostly intrigued by games in the latter category. Every now and there comes a computer game that does not only entertain me but aims to sharpen my mind.

World of Goo certainly belongs in this category. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to this game recently by my friend. If you expect 3D graphics, killing, kicking or blazing speeds, then you can skip the rest of the post. If you are still here, then you will learn how a simple game with inspiring sounds – Danny Elfman meets Ennio Morricone – and strategically designed levels will win you at first glance.

The object of this 2D platform game is reminiscent of an older, but yet classic game, Lemmings. Like that game, in which you had to collect as many Lemmings as possible, in the World of Goo, you need to collect a specific number of Goo balls at the pipe that represents the exit. To reach the pipe, you have to make intricate Goo structures by connecting some of the balls together. The remaining balls just hover around the structure until it reaches the pipe and sucks them. There is, however one minor detail that makes the big difference: the connections of the structure are not rigid but elastic. This gives a whole new purpose to the physics skills that you acquired – hopefully not in vain – during your high school years and makes you think twice before you make every move. As you progress the levels, you will guide your Goo balls through obstacles like hills, unusual terrains, water, away from nasty shredders and spikes, and you will also be armed with special balls, balloons and other aids.

Level completed!

Level completed!

The game is divided into 5 different chapters, all of which contain different levels. There are 47 different levels in the World of Goo and a special one called “World of Goo Corporation”. This is just a repository of all the extra Goo balls that you have saved while playing all other levels. The aim is to make the tallest Goo structure and to compare it to the ones of all the other players in the world.

2d_boy

World of Goo is the fruit of labour of just two game designers, Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler, that together formed the independent gaming company 2D Boy. And to top it all up? You need not splash a fortune to buy a new game console. For a mere $20 (£ 13.4 last time I checked) you will get both the PC and the Mac version (and the Linux one when is available). Give it a free trial: download the demo, play the entire first chapter and become an instant Goo-fanatic.

 

Lambda.

 

(first two images are screenshots of the game. All images © 2D Boy.)

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