2D Boy’s World of Goo for WiiWare is a title that seems to be happily treading the fine line between game and toy. While there are definitely the rules and objectives in place that define a game, nearly all of the gameplay is derived from a wobbly physics engine that appears to reward improvisation as much as it does any kind of traditional engineering acuity. I got to play around with World of Goo a little bit for the first time during Nintendo’s recent media summit, and its addictive qualities were almost immediately apparent.
While both the gameplay and the visual style of World of Goo bear a certain tangential resemblance to Loco Roco, saying it’s derivative would be selling World of Goo extremely short. In each level you’re presented with a pile of goo balls–semi-autonomous little building blocks that are both what you’re trying to rescue, as well as the means by which you’ll rescue them. Your job is to get a certain number of goo balls into a tube that’s on the other side of some kind of obstacle, which you do by building simple structures out of the goo balls.
When you grab a goo ball and move it away from the other goo balls, strands of goo form between them. If you let go of the goo ball, those strands will hold their shape. Since everything–some might say the whole world–is made of goo, your goo-based structures have a little bit of give to them, which can cause overly ambitious or poorly balanced structures to topple over on themselves.
There are other considerations when building your goo-towers and goo-bridges, such as the number of goo balls you need to rescue in order to complete the level, versus the number of goo balls you can sacrifice to build the structure itself. If you place the goo balls further apart, you’ll use less of them during construction, though the longer the strands between the goo balls are, the less stable they are. It may sound like a giant planning nightmare, and at higher difficulty levels I could see it becoming just that, but the fundamentals are intuitive enough, and the learning curve seems fairly gentle.
As promising as a lot of the WiiWare stuff that Nintendo has shown off so far is, World of Goo is the first WiiWare title I’ve seen that demanded an immediate and extended play session, and it’s the most compelling justification for the WiiWare service I’ve seen yet. The gameplay is unique, the visuals are charming, and I just can’t wait to get really gooey.