I already wrote praising “World of Goo” on here when the game was still in pre-order/preview status. Now that the game is available, and I’ve seen past the first chapter, I feel obliged to talk about it some more. Everything I said last time still stands, but there’s more.
I’m still not halfway through, and I’ve already had several “wow” moments. Moments where the game makes just the right unexpected twist or throws out an unexpected surprise. And it’s got the kind of reward only the best puzzle games can provide, where all the pieces fall into place and you’re suddenly left feeling extremely clever.
I’m kind of reluctant to mention that it’s an “indie” game, since you could complete the entire thing without ever catching on that it was made by a two-man team instead of the “research and development” arm of some much larger studio. With indie comics, games, and music, we’re accustomed to sacrificing a bit of the polish and presentation in favor of depth and innovation; the best thing about “World of Goo” is that you get all the imagination and the professional presentation.
To me, this is exactly the potential and appeal of “indie” games: taking a central concept (in this case, physics-based puzzles) and exploring all the different places that concept can lead. Focusing not on what’s going to generate the most sales, and not on what’s going to make the developer seem smart, but on what’s fun and interesting. My favorite aspect of the game is the “World of Goo Corporation” area, that ingeniously combines a free-play area with the worldwide leaderboard. Like everything else in the game, it’s a novel way of presenting all of the stuff we’re used to seeing, but in an unconventional way.
If there’s any justice in the world, the 2D Boys will make a ton of money off this game, with enough left over to fund future projects. The game’s getting universal praise, and while I’m not willing to be as effusive as some of these reviews, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody. It’s available on Windows, Mac and Linux (soon), and WiiWare, so there’s no excuse not to buy a copy. Seriously, I think fans of games in general should feel obligated to support the company, even if for some reason they’re not interested in the game.
If you buy only six downloadable games this year (the other five, of course, being Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People), then one of them should be “World of Goo”.