Ever wondered how high a tower you can build by stacking goo balls on top of each other? ... No?
That is where downloadable titles come in. Usually at a prize of the fifth of a retail game, you can play it a little less safe than when buying other games and maybe try out a few innovative concepts. If there wasn't downloadable platforms, I'd be surprised if a game like World of Goo could exist. Created and produced by only two brilliant minds and with a low production cost, many people would miss out on it, but since people have given it good reviews and the prize is only 15 dollars/euros, it has made it pretty far.
As a Norwegian I'm particularily fond of downloadable games since I get them for the same prize as other Europeans while retail games normally cost 75 percent more than what other Europeans pay for them. Um, enough about that.
In World of Goo you link goo balls to each other by pointing at the screen, pick them up with a goo-like cursor and place them near other goo-balls. You need to build a structure that leads all the way to a pipe. When you reach the pipe, it will suck in all the goo balls that are left, and if you have the minimal required amount of goo balls, you advance to the next level. Sounds mediocre? Well, it would have been if the producers wasn't so damn good at making level designs that ensured variation. The levels alone still wouldn't be as varied if there weren't different types of goo balls. Some are flamable, some are not, some attach themselves to two goo balls, some to three and some to multiple balls. Some are stuck ones their placed, others can be removed. Some can survive spikes, some can be glued to objects and some can't be placed at all, they're just there to be saved and sucked into the pipe. Another addition is balloons, to attach to your goo balls, and you also have a flute.
The gameplay is accompanied by a surprisingly good story. Well, to be fair, the story itself is fairly mediocre, but the storytelling is done in such a unique and brilliant way that it doesn't matter. The cut-scenes are short and not so many that it'll bore you, but they are good. Still, a lot of the story is elivered to you by the sign posts, along with some hints about how to master the level. The signs can be pretty hilarious sometimes. The artwork is also unique and brilliant - so much so that I love the graphics despite low production cost.
From levels where you build bridges in the wind, to levels where you escape from the stomach of some animal, to levels where you blow up things, the game offers so much variation that it won't feel repetitive during the four hours it takes to get through the story mode. You might complain that world of goo is 1500 wii points and 4 hours is the usual length for a 1000 point game, but it really is worth it. The game does have some replay value if you really loved it. You see when you rescued more goo balls than required in a level, the extra goo balls are added to a certain mini-game where the object is to build as high a tower as possible. If you then try the level again and beat your record by one goo ball, that extra goo balls is also added. So you might want to redo many of the levels to collect goo balls for that mini-game.
If that isn't enough to give you a challenge, then you can go to the menu and find another goal for you. The game count your moves, so the menu will tell you how few moves you should try to beat the levels in, making it extra hard for those who enjoy that.
I want to say that the game is flawless, but it isn't quite true. You see when there are many goo balls on the structure you're building and there are different types, it might be hard to catch the type you need. That can be a problem in certain levels. Like in one level you are building a bridge over spikes. The moment it leads too much forward, you will need to grab a goo ball of the type that is immune to spikes. If you miss though, you will kill a whole lot of the other goo balls. The game tries to solve this problem by having little white flies that you can click on to undo your last move. Still, they become a problem themselves because they are small and hard to see and you might accidentally click on one when you didn't mean to.
A few flaws aside, World of Goo is an amazing game with clever puzzles, a brilliant physics engine, good variaty and a surprisingly enjoyable story. In other words it's well worth your money.