Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan 31 -- World of Goo(d)

The Nintendo Wii gets short shrift among the gaming cognoscenti. Everyone acknowledges the first party tiles like Super Mario Galaxy are amazing, but in the same breath they inevitably point out the mounds and mounds of really terrible games on the platform. There are scads of them. But man, when someone takes their time to get used to the novel controls (the Wii controls are motion sensitive and can function more like a mouse than a traditional control pad or dual analog setup), it can be amazing. Case in point:

Game of the Day:  WORLD OF GOO
Depending on the level, you get differing types and amounts of goo balls to place on the screen. Some stick to nearby goo, some float like balloons, some can be stuck once, some can can moved around. Each level is an environmental puzzle--get "x" goos from the reservoir to the outlet--using fewer goos nets you more points--and the all important "OCD" bonus if you really nail the level. 

The art direction is Tim Burtonesque--great theme music accompanies the odd designs and that frog in the picture is about the twelfth weirdest thing you experience along the way. The game is also very post-modern--it knows that you know it's a game. It doesn't bother overly with instructions beyond a couple of signposts, and there's a built in understanding about certain game tropes that are simply assumed the player is aware of. Contrast this with a Zelda game, which seems to spend the first two hours of every game explaining very slowly what is an is not expected of the player--after ten such games over twenty years, we probably have the idea. 

This game simply is not playable with a traditional controller. Most of the game comes down to quick clicks and drags and a little analog stick simply will not cut it. To their credit, the developer didn't even try. Available for about $20 (you can catch sales for $10 if you're patient), World of Goo is a worthy download

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