World of Goo

World of Goo is the latest variant on the Crayon Physics game mechanic idea that’s been gaining momentum in the independant games sector for the past year and is a tremendous example of a good idea that’s been executed professionally and is cheap and easy to buy so that people actually will.

For me, at least, it started with the sandbox of Numpty Physics that goes well with a tablet or a touch screen. Then somebody spent some effort on the idea and turned the mechanic into Crayon Physics. Then stir in the game that laid waste to my team’s lunchtimes for over a week, Fantastic Contraption (particularly popular in the Academic Engineering community), sprinkle on some Lemmings (who on earth would write that in javascript!) and you’re left with Goo.

The game is essentially building lots of triangles out of rubber bands to try to cross obstacles. As you progress through the demo, you are gradually taught the various concepts needed to cope when the designers start throwing in complications like gravity and buoyancy. I played through the free demo chapter in about an hour or so and was impressed by both the presentation and the learning curve. Unlike some of the previous incarnations of the genre, where I was left wondering what to do for too long, this game gives you sufficient hints to generally get there in the end but without feeling like you’ve just clicked the i.w.i.n. button. The graphics are slick and attractive, the music is good and the sound effects are sufficiently cute as to give Worms a run for its money (although sadly you don’t get to change the voices to be 007 or Tykes).

Clearly I’m not alone with my opinion of the sound track, apparently enough people pestered the author to publish it and one crazy fan even transcribed it by ear!

World of Goo is available for more than just Windows PCs, presumably because the author didn’t want to restrict his sales, and it’s easy to download either as a one off, or through a framework such as Steam. One of the things I like most about independant games, apart from them actually having fun gameplay like games used to when aye wuz a lad, is that the successful ones spawn community interest. Just digging up the links for this post led me on a merry adventure across the internet.

Go download the demo, it won’t be time wasted.

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