There’s also something else that keeps you hard at the Goo grindstone for hours at end, and that’s what we might call personality. In a world where we routinely excuse the graphics in small, indie games because the gameplay is so innovative or exciting, it’s a pleasure to report that World of Goo looks and feels polished enough to be a major commercial title. Its 2D worlds have a touch of Tim Burton, a tad of Dr Seuss and a smidgeon of LocoRoco, and somehow it’s all bound together in a weird and slightly macabre storyline that leaves you feeling that, for once, somebody has actually thought about this stuff. Even the Goo itself is lovable – to the point that sacrificing a clump for the good of the group can be a little bit heartbreaking at times.
It’s hard not to love a game that starts off weird, with giant frogs and monstrous digestion systems, then gets weirder and weirder with blinking beauty queens composed of Goo, vast human figures and increasingly madcap industrial machines. The music, too, is stupendous, with themes that add to the feeling of urgency or drama. I say it again; this is not just another dry puzzle game – it’s a game made with love and real imagination, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
So what does the Wii version bring to the PC original? Well, obviously control has moved from mouse to Wii remote, and while this can make it slightly trickier to click and drag Goo in a moment of impending disaster, 2D Boy has done a great job of implementing the point-and-click controls.What’s more, a second player can now join the game at any time. They can’t scroll the screen – which can be a bit frustrating for the player riding shotgun – but they can help or hinder your efforts by dragging and depositing the Goo. When it all goes right, it’s great to share the fun. When it all goes wrong, it’s either hilarious or hugely row-provoking, dependant upon with whom you’re playing and your moods.
Luckily, most of the time, World of Goo is a recipe for happiness and joy. At 1500 Wii points it’s a steal, and much, much better value than 90% of full-priced Wii games I could mention. In fact, it’s easily the best Wii game I’ve played since LostWinds and EA’s hugely underrated Boom Blox. If you have a Wii buy it, and if you know anyone who has a Wii and moans about not having any decent games, then pester them to buy it. If you have a PC and you haven’t played it, buy it. At £16.99 it’s a bit pricey on Steam, but at $20 (a touch over £13) direct from 2D Boy it’s an absolute bargain.
An intelligent, innovative, ingenious and beautifully designed action/puzzle game. Whether you have a PC or a Wii, you need to get your hands on some Goo.