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World of Goo

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World of Goo Software Box

World of Goo Software Box

Photo Courtesy of Brighter Minds Media
The World of Goo, by independent game studio 2DBoy, is a quirky puzzle-solving PC/Mac video game unlike just about anything else on the market. The premise is simple, although a bit bizarre. You are confronted with a colony of mysterious "Goo Balls" who like to cling together with long, gooey threads. Your goal is simply to collect the Goo Balls by building goo structures and helping them reach a drain pipe opening. Once there, they are collected by the World Goo Corporation.

Building with Goo - Gooey Engineering, Physics and Design

Building in the World of Goo is easy enough. Click on a Goo Ball and drag it where you would like it to go. As you use a Goo Ball, it becomes part of the structure. You will see white lines to show you how the Goo Ball will attach to the structure you’ve already built. Keep building until the Goo Balls are within reach of the pipe opening. But remember, each puzzle requires you to collect a certain number of Goo Balls and you only have a finite number to work with. This means that you have to use your Goo Balls wisely.

What makes the World of Goo tricky is that you’re dealing with a variety of factors, not the least of which is gravity. Each World of Goo puzzle is a mini challenge in engineering and physics. How do you build a goo bridge or a goo tower without them collapsing? How wide of a base do you need before you start wasting goo? You might strive to build the fastest structure you can, or you might go with a Goo Ball-saving, elegant design.

World of Goo Difficulty Level

Screenshot from the World of Goo

Building Bridges in the World of Goo

Photo Courtesy of Brighter Minds Media

The basic premise of the World of Goo is easy to grasp. Any child who can use the mouse will be able to build with the Goo Balls. The difficulty comes from two distinct aspects of the game: 1) lack of tutorial or direction, and 2) increasingly challenging puzzles.

Part of the charm of this game is a minimalist quality. With that comes a refreshing (or possibly, alarming) lack of tutorial. You aren’t really sure what’s going on, or why. At some points you may not be sure how, either. At each level, you’re confronted with a set of Goo Balls (there are 15 species!) and a landscape. There is a mysterious "Sign Painter" who leaves hints about your goo and how to progress, but it still leaves quite a bit up to you to figure out.

Younger kids may need some extra help completing the puzzles, but this is a fun game to play together. You can come up with building strategies in advance and test them out. Since levels can be replayed, you can also try out a different technique to see if it works better.

World of Goo Corporation and Online Play

Once you have completed several levels, you unlock access to the World of Goo Corporation, another mysterious element of the game. The Corporation collects goo for use in building towers. You can use your extra Goo Balls (all those collected over and above the basic requirement) to build a gigantic goo tower. As you build, you’ll see clouds floating by that represent other builders online. There is no interaction between players, so it’s safe for kids, but it’s also fun to "compete" against others in building the tallest tower.

Just Plain, Gooey Fun

The World of Goo is beautifully drawn and is scored with quirky music and sound effects. It’s family friendly, educational and ridiculously addictive. This is a must for anyone who enjoys puzzle games.

Manufacturer Specifications

The World of Goo is available for Windows (there is a version for the Wii as well) and retails for $19.99. It is rated E for Everyone.

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