This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).
I’ve come to devise a new system for my steam challenge – I’ve put all of the pure puzzle games in their own category, and thus they don’t muddy the waters when it comes time to choose my next game. Instead, I choose one of the puzzlers and make a habit of playing through one or two levels every day or two. Just a 10-15 minute dip into the game, but it is perfect for getting that sense of progression, keeping my mind muscles toned, and avoiding the frustration of being stumped and hitting my head against a wall repeatedly. I’ve become much better at letting it go if I do hit that wall, content in the knowledge that I’ll come back to it tomorrow. Since I don’t have that pressure of wanting to finish it before I move on to the next game, it doesn’t bother me that it might take weeks to complete.
The first beneficiary of this new system is World of Goo. I’ve already written about their second game, Little Inferno, and my experience with that were amazing, so I went into World of Goo with very high expectations. Turns out, I was not disappointed in the slightest. For one thing, the puzzles themselves are a joy to work on. There are many ways you could solve them, as you are building your own path to completion. The different types of Goo balls make for an interesting variety of challenges, too. I really liked how in some levels, you look at the starting setup and think, “oh my gawd this is impossible”, but once you start building and experimenting the process gradually reveals itself to you. It might take several tries, but you are rarely just shooting wildly in the hopes of hitting on a solution.
The soundtrack is incredible. It manages to combine a sense of mischief and fun with a sense of sombre gravity, in a way that no other game I have played has been able to do. The sound effects are cute, the art direction is very distinctive and extremely well done, and the story…well. In both this and Little Inferno, games which could very easily stand on gameplay alone, the storytelling style is both intriguing and lighthearted. They manage to tell a serious story, with deep social or philosophical commentary, in a fun way. It’s difficult to describe exactly, but I am a great fan of being led through a story via cryptic clues and odd questions, rather than exposition.
The only problem I have with World of Goo is the lack of video and audio options. The other options I don’t mind so much, but I very strongly disapprove of not being able to control the volume in-game!
Anywho, two massive thumbs up for World of Goo. Definitely worth it at full price if you are a fan of puzzle games, otherwise still worth checking out if it’s on sale.