Have You Played… World Of Goo?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

It is literally impossible that World Of Goo is from SEVEN YEARS AGO. That absolutely, categorically cannot be the case. There has simply been a malfunction in chronology. We had that world exclusive review maybe three years ago at most.

2008’s World Of Goo was a pivotal moment for indie gaming. This was two people who quit their jobs at EA to sit in Starbucks and code and promptly became millionaires. Just millionaires, mind – Minecraft will always subsume it for perceived indie significance. But it came at a time when independent developers had no such expectations. It hit a perfect moment, the point where Steam was reaching a critical mass, where PC was beginning its continued rise, and perhaps most importantly, just when Rock, Paper, Shotgun was finding its feet. We are the saviours of indie gaming, and there may be no debate.

And the reason this project was quite such a phenomenal success (2008 scale) was because it is sheer bloody perfection. 2D BOY took a wonderful idea – blobs of goo that when placed near each other formed rigid bonds, that could therefore be built into geometric towers – and then didn’t let it sit still for a moment. WoG’s levels, of which there are many, constantly develop the concept, introduce new Goo types, and raise the level of challenge with a precision that I’d argue is unsurpassed. But on top of that, it manages to introduce a remarkably sophisticated allegoric tale through chirpy bleats and wibbles. It generates a peculiarly deep sense of sadness at points, and at other times hope.

It remains a deep, deep shame that 2D BOY never went on to make anything else. However, great things have come from it, not least the Indie Fund that has facilitated the creation of many great games (Mushroom 11, Monaco, The Swapper, amongst many others).


  1. lerouxb says:

    Doesn’t Little Inferno count?

    • basilisk says:

      Not really; that was just one half of 2D Boy (Kyle Gabler) with someone else; the other guy (Ron Carmel) was not involved.

  2. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    I liked it, but I really dislike time based challenges in my puzzle games. I stopped playing WoG after encountering a few of these.
    One of the best things to (eventualy) emerge from that experimental gameplay project of so long ago.

    • thedosbox says:

      I liked it, but I really dislike time based challenges in my puzzle games.

      That’s a shame. WoG has been sitting in my backlog for years, and it sounds like it’ll never escape.

    • Ryuuga says:

      Yeah, I got stuck on some puzzle that apparently had to be completed by building really fast. That’s not my idea of fun. Timed challenges sounds terrible, so I guess it’s for the better that I gave up earlier.

      The art style really isn’t my cup of tea, either.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        The “timed challenges” are all optional. Each level has an “Obsessive Completion Distinction” award you can get for finishing it under X time, or under X moves, or with over X gooballs saved. None of them are required to finish the game.

        • vivlo says:

          “obsessive criteria of distinction”
          for some times, i actually believed anyne saying OCD meant just that (non english native speaker here)

  3. cyrenic says:

    I loved this game when it came out. Since then I’ve had 3 kids and each one has been introduced to mouse and keyboard gaming with World of Goo.

    Great game.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I thought it was so lovely that I bought a physical copy (in addition to the digital one that I already had) to support the developers.

  5. Oozo says:

    If nothing else confirmed that this was seven years ago, John’s euphoric comment under the original WIT would be enough: “There’s a good chance this will be on Steam.”

    PS ’twas a lovely time, when the RPS overlords themselves would comment as much as the proletariat.

  6. basilisk says:

    You are right, John. It can’t possibly be seven years. Someone must have been tampering with time while I wasn’t looking.

    But yes, I do remember the impact the game made; the success of WoG really was a watershed moment, and it was completely deserved. Loved the game so much that I don’t think I want to return back to it ever again. It’s perfect in my memories and should remain that way.

  7. cannonballsimp says:

    Why yes I have played it! What happened to 2D Boy though?

  8. jeeger says:

    I turn off my adblocker for one minute, and promptly I have to see “The Most Painful Torture Devices of the Middle Ages” with a guy being sawn in half. Isn’t there some better way to have ads on this page?

  9. Hypocee says:

    Hah! I just had a yen two weeks ago and played through it for the second time since release.

    Why yes, it does hold up.

  10. Laurentius says:

    I did and actually did it many times, it’s brilliant and music is absolutely awsome, seriosly how can you present this game without notifying its superb music is beyond me ?

  11. amateurviking says:

    I intrinsically associate this game with RPS, the (re)rise of the PC game, and my own return to gaming and PC gaming in particular. It feels like a milestone.

  12. FreeTom says:

    I had this on my Linux laptop when it first came out and I loved it and completed and got a fair few of the OCD awards.

    Then, years later I got it on Steam as part of a Humble Bundle and NOW I CAN’T DO IT. Evidently I am much stupider than I was seven years ago.

  13. Imaginary Llamas says:

    I played the WiiWare version when it was first released – when I got the PC version from some Humble Bundle a few years later, I found I couldn’t replay it with a mouse. It was weird, like I could remember how well it played with the Wiimote and using a mouse just felt ‘off’.

  14. Caelyn Ellis says:

    Seven years? Nope. Not having that at all. Brain says no. Three years, tops. Four at a push.

  15. Eleven says:

    World of Goo was back before the smartphone revolution that made everyone a gamer, and it really did mark a new era. I recommended it to a lot of friends who weren’t particularly into gaming in 2008, and it was fun to watch people play it for the first time and discover games could be creative, accessible and just plain fun!

    Nowadays it still holds up against a lot of completion, even against the output of the vast app store game industry. The mechanics and production values make it a timeless game.

  16. Demon Beaver says:

    If I’m not mistaken, WoG also started the Pay What You Want trend with its year-after-release celebration. Talk about influencing PC gaming.

    • draglikepull says:

      World of Goo was the banner title for the first Humble Indie Bundle. It was definitely a big influence in that regard.

  17. draglikepull says:

    One thing I remember about World of Goo that you’d probably never see today is that the demo was the entire first world, which is roughly a quarter of the game. It’s hard to imagine anyone putting out a demo with anywhere near that much content these days, even an indie.

  18. Rikard Peterson says:

    Yes, I’ve played it, and even finished it. It’s a good one, well worthy of its fame and appearance everywhere.

  19. liquidsoap89 says:

    Yes I have, multiple times. And I always get stuck at the level early on where you have to build a really tall tower. I JUST CAN’T DO IT!

  20. Catchcart says:

    Yes. Partly because it was one of the first major indie games to release for linux – and one the few that installed and ran without a hinch!

  21. iainl says:

    No, I haven’t. Installed it last night since it’s been kicking around my library for ages, but it just crashed on startup. Oh well.

  22. thyho says:

    I played this back in 2008 while i was downloading GTA IV for continuous 14 hours,
    14 anxiety hours waiting that download to finish.

  23. AyeBraine says:

    I first met the blobs when I bought the GAME.EXE magazine (an exact copy of RPS that wasn’t there when GAME.EXE started, also in Russian, also the most brainy, high-brow, insanely overdesigned and mythological magazine I’ve ever read) with a CD. On the CD, there was a section dedicated to Experimental Gameplay Project.

    In that section, I’ve found things like The Crowd (Agnus Dei!!!), Attack of the Bees, and Tower of Goo (set to Piazzola’s tango, or Prokofiev, or Rachmaninov? don’t remember). It was the moment I learned that there is a thing called indie games. It was another few years until I learned that they are called “indie games”. Good times.