2D Boy: World of Goo review

Fun with physics. Icky, sticky fun for all the family.

12 Dec 2008
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If you're sick of the same old PC games, well, join the club.

Oh, look! Another first person shooter set in a bleak future where your character has mysterious special abilities. Goody! Yet another impenetrable strategy game in which you can re-enact every battle, skirmish and slightly testy lunch hour of World War II. Joy! In a world of imitation, repetition and the downright dullness, World of Goo is the thick, syrupy and inspired antidote to PC leisure ennui.

First of all, you can forget about needing a supercharged multi graphics card system that more closely resembles Sizewell B than an everyday personal computer. Nope, near enough any old PC or laptop that's rolled off a conveyor belt in the last five years should give World of Goo enough power to get its unique brand of gaming entertainment up and running.

And entertain is one thing that World of Goo does with spectacular aplomb. The premise is delightfully simple. Set across a number of increasingly difficult levels, your task is to help round up a number of little gooballs and get them safely to the pipe. Handily, these gooballs are rather adept at stretching and contorting themselves into all sorts of sticky structures, allowing you to reach the often seemingly unreachable goal. It's not hard to get the hang of it, but it soon becomes devilishly hard to get to the end of it.

Yet World of Goo is stunningly accessible - so much so that a brief 'go' quickly turns into an hour-devouring, day-sapping pursuit of sticky victory. The key to its appeal is a set of controls that couldn't be any simpler. Grab a gooball with the mouse, drag it close to the mesh of other gooballs, and it gamely clings onto its compatriots. Combine several gooballs and you can create all manner of weird and wonderful constructions - but there's a catch. Should you dare to ignore the laws of physics, and fail to ensure that your structures are suitably reinforced and buttressed, you may find them collapsing under their own weight.

High anxiety

When exasperated by the vertiginous difficulty of the later levels, you can resort to the World of Goo Corporation, a little side game which proves highly engrossing. The more levels you complete, the more gooballs you rescue, the more are added to your arsenal. The aim is simple: build the highest tower you can without it toppling over. Do it while connected to the Internet, and little clouds float into view showing players' scores from around the world. Pointless? Probably. Addictive? Terribly.

World of Goo is a wonder. It's easy to pick up, addictive, and presented with such love and attention to detail that it's impossible not to get wrapped up in its endearing, brain-teasing little world. For the usual £30-odd it might not have seemed an essential buy, but at just 20 US dollars, or around 13 of your credit crunched British pounds, it's a bargain.

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