1: World Of Goo
Developer: 2D BOY
Publisher: 2D BOY
Yes indeed, RPS’s number one puzzle game of all time is World Of Goo. As indeed it has been since the day it was released back in 2008. As I started my review of the game in September that year, “This is something special.”
World Of Goo is, essentially, a puzzle game in which blobs placed near each other form rigid bonds, and from these towers, bridges, and other improvised constructions can be built. But to describe the game by its mechanics is to entirely miss what it’s like to play.
Perhaps not immediately. From the start, you’re welcomed by its overwhelmingly lovely bright, audacious cartoon design, and then asked to do just as described: build simple towers and bridges. Once constructed, the other goo balls can squiggle along the structures, and escape through a pipe, to… freedom? As they move, they yelp and cheer and chatter their nonsense language, and immediately you’ll love them. Those that are sacrificed for structures are noble heroes. You want to use the minimum number not to get the highest possible score, but to preserve as many of the gorgeous things as is possible.
Then it starts to add. Each chapter of the game introduces new goo types, some reusable, some that only dangle, balloon goos, fire goos, and each seems to have a distinct personality type. The puzzles start to change too, introducing new elements, changing things up every time you start to feel like you’ve mastered it, and constantly surprising you with its new inventive ideas. And all through this, it’s impossible not to notice that it’s about something more.
There’s a sadness, and indeed an anger, to the game. As you progress through the season-themed chapters, amongst the hilarious humour, an ennui becomes increasingly apparent, even as the puzzles become more complicated and entertaining to solve. And ho boy are they entertaining. Again, to quote myself, “This is a game that nudges you into having a great idea, rather than ever telling you what to do. You get all the glory.”
The music is incredible, the sound effects are some of the best and most well applied in gaming history, the design is outrageously good. And most of all, the puzzles are utterly perfect. It’s this magical, wondrous thing, never expanded upon, never sequeled, and most likely never will be. It exists as it is, and that’s fearfully and wonderfully made. World Of Goo is sublime, utterly beautiful, and incredibly smart. It is the pinnacle of puzzle gaming.
It remains, to this day, an extraordinary thing that World Of Goo really was created by just two guys, who spent most of the time working on it in their local Starbucks.
World Of Goo was born of a simpler concept, Tower Of Goo, which survives in the game as a bonus section in which all your recovered goo balls can be built into a tower, competing for height with others online.
Where can I buy it:
What else should I be playing if I like this:
You could well be interested in a play with the lovely Crayon Physics Deluxe.