World of Goo Review: Finally!
It almost feels redundant to do a review of World of Goo, which recently hit the iPad. 2D Boy’s puzzle game is already a huge hit across several platforms, having caught everyone’s attention back in 2008 when we were all downloading it to our PCs and Wiis. It’s the poster child for innovative development by talented, committed independent game studios, practically foreshadowing what gaming has become on iOS and other mobile platforms.
But, hey, World of Goo’s arrival on the iPad gave me an excuse to finally play all the way through the game, something I never got around to doing on my Wii. So review it I will.
First, quick rundown for those who’ve never heard of the game before: World of Goo is a physics puzzle game. In it, you must use sticky, stretchy, but surprisingly sturdy “goo balls” to build structures across levels, with the intent of getting a target number of goo balls to the end. So it’s part Lemmings, part bridge-building game. Where World of Goo stood out was in its challenging level design, phenomenal game physics, and quirky design aesthetic.
So, my first reaction to World of Goo on iPad: what took so long? World of Goo is practically made for the device, and I can only guess that they took so long just to make sure it ported properly. And it is perfectly suited to the iPad — touch controls for building are better than a mouse and absolutely better than a pointed WiiMote. The developers have made sure that the touch controls here are responsive and reactive, exactly as they needed to be. This was probably 2D Boy’s biggest hurdle, as screwing up the interface would have damned the port.
Beyond that, all the devs really needed to do was to not change any of the great things about World of Goo, and as far as I can tell, they haven’t. The physics of the game are still top-notch, as they always were. The gameplay is still addicting; it has a finely tuned, perfectly balanced sensibility that absolutely invites that one-more-try attitude that the best puzzle games offer, as challenges are still challenging without ever seeming too impossible to figure out. All the distinctly designed levels are there, with their different kinds of goo balls, spectacular backgrounds, and coy hints from “The Sign Painter” that set you on the right path without ever directly telling you what you have to do. The music is still quirky. The designs are still Burton-esque. Every aspect of the game is excellent, as excellent as it was on the PC or the Wii.
It’s hard to find anything to complain about here. The price? Maybe, though $9.99 is more in line with iPad apps than it would be if this were the iPhone. The fact that there isn’t an iPhone version? Actually, I’m not sure how well this would play on such a small screen. The fact that there’s really nothing new, nothing added? This is perhaps the closest thing to an actual complaint. Those who have played World of Goo on another system probably won’t want to buy this game again, as the newest thing about it is the inclusion of Game Center compatibility. But then, some people will be willing to play through again just to experience it on the iPad.
If you’ve never played World of Goo, and you own an iPad, you owe it to yourself to play this game. Sure, it’s a bit pricey at $9.99, but this is a game that is worth the price of admission.