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Publisher: 2D Boy    Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4

World of Goo
November 19, 2008 | Franklin Pride

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Roasting Pit
Puzzle games are the most common game type that you see in Mac gaming. Most of these games tend to fall in one of three varieties: picture finding, matching, or placement. It is extremely rare for a puzzle game to create its own category, but World of Goo does exactly that.

The premise of World of Goo (WoG) is to use your goo balls to create a building that completes the stage's objectives. This could be anything from building a tower to launching a giant ball into a shredder. No matter the objective, it's as simple as dragging your goo into position and letting physics take it from there.

The physics are extremely realistic and are most of the fun of the game. You can't just build haphazardly and expect a tower to stay stable. You need to build supports, keep the weight relatively evenly distributed, and make sure that the goo traveling on the structure don't destabilize it while you're building it up. Whenever a tower or bridge falls, it always makes sense and is extremely fun to watch. One of the most entertaining things to do is to make as big a tower as you can and then intentionally crash it to the ground.

Of course, there are plenty of missions for you to focus on if you don't want to just play with the physics. These missions are all unique, so you'll definitely not get bored while playing through them. For instance, the first mission is a simple tower-building challenge that teaches you the ropes of the game, but the later missions go from keeping a bridge suspended by balloons while crossing a chasm to launching objects using creative goo placement. There are quite a few missions that are a real challenge and they can take hours to finally defeat. However, a skilled player can easily finish the game in under three hours.

World of Goo is so addictive, though, that most people will keep playing long after they've beaten the levels. Each level has an Obsessive Completion Distinction (OCD) requirement in addition to the winning requirement. It's not uncommon for the average player to keep it up until they have a large number of OCDs. These tend to take much longer than the missions themselves and can extend the playing time to over forty hours.

WoG is highly entertaining. The levels are unique and challenging, the physics make each level slightly different every time you play it, and the bonus challenges for each level add a huge amount to each level's replayability. On top of all that, there's also a bonus mode that's unlocked by doing better than the minimum requirement for each level. In this mode you build a tower as high as you can using the bonus goo balls you unlocked. What makes this mode so interesting is that you can see other players' progress while building the tower if you're online. There's also a global ranking system for building the tower, which gives the mode quite a bit of challenge. (I only got up to #737 in the world)

Overall, World of Goo's gameplay is almost perfect. However, there is one major issue that can be extremely frustrating at times. Due to the fact that you select goo balls by moving your mouse over them, it can be quite hard to pick one unique type of goo out of a swarm of other ones. Many OCDs are time-based, so this can make getting some of them practically impossible. It's not that bad when you're not in a rush, though, so it's not game-breaking.


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