World of Goo

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Overview

"World of Goo" is a puzzle game for computers and the Wii. The object is similar to the old Lemmings games -- clear levels by manipulating small "guys" who interact with the level's environment in particular ways to get a certain number of them to the goal.

The "guys" in WoG are spherical blobs with eyes, who can stick together to create latticework structures. The game mechanic is a physics simulation, with gravity and object interactions.

The physics are straightforward and fluid. The production design is of special note; it has an evocative, Tim Burton-esque atmosphere that makes the game feel much more fun and alive than your typical, sterile physics simulation.

Within the limits of the physical characteristics of the blobs (which have some variation), the physics simulation is free-form. The solutions are varied and interesting, and require thinking and experimentation to figure out.

Multiplayer Fun

Gwynnie and I have been playing it together on the Wii, which has cooperative multiplayer functionality. (Computer versions aren't multiplayer, although there is unofficial multiplayer support in Linux.)

I'm sure single-player mode is fun, but multiplayer is a real treat. Having two people move the goo balls around to build structures is a little more chaotic, but it's super fun as you try to guess together the best way to solve the levels' puzzles. It's genuinely cooperative, and sometimes having an extra hand really helps. Sometimes Gwynnie and I will split up the work -- "you build the bridge, and I'll move the supports under it!"

WoG is very gentle about skill level. There's an un-obtrusive timer, and a larger feeling of accomplishment as you finish faster or get more balls to the goal than required, but you don't feel punished or restricted if you go slower. I think most people could play it and feel satisfaction in completing the puzzles -- it's not just for kids or puzzle fanatics.

Availability; Special Anniversary Sale

On the Wii, WoG is available for 1500 Wii points ($15) through the WiiWare Shopping Channel.

On the computer, WoG is usually $20, but there's a special "name your own price" 1-year anniversary sale on right now (October 2009) until the 19th -- you can pay any amount from $0.01 on up. I expect to keep playing WoG mostly on the Wii, but just for fun, and to support the developers, I bought two copies for the computer (one for me, one for Gwynnie) for $5 each.

Highly recommended, and at name-your-own price, I think everybody should buy a copy. :-)

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