World of Goo

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
World of Goo Game Poster Image
Brilliant physics-based puzzler turns player into engineer.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about physics and puzzle solving in this two-dimensional brain bender. The game's stretchy goo balls allow players to erect towers that believably -- if not perfectly –- obey the rules of gravity and structural physics. Kids will glean an understanding of the factors that weigh into building sturdy foundations for large structures as they solve puzzles that require them to make effective use of minimal building resources. World of Goo's delightful interactive features may help spark kids' interest in a wide range of topics and careers, from video game design to engineering and architecture.

Positive Messages

The tiny senient goo balls are used to make structures. There is an overall message about using ingredients in cosmetics and such, but it isn't well flushed out.

Ease of Play

The puzzles get progressively harder, but are set up to encourage experimentation. It isn't hard to figure out how to play, but it can be challenging to win each puzzle.

Violence & Scariness

The goo blobs, which are depicted as semi-intelligent (they have little roving eyeballs), can fall down crevices to their doom. Big pink face balls can get ground up into smaller balls. They can also be impaled on spikes and pop.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that World of Goo contains little in the way of potentially offensive content. Its narrative -- which focuses on semi-intelligent balls of goo being used by a corporation to develop products such as beauty cream and a kind of drink -- contains concepts geared for older players, but there is never anything graphic or scary. However, the puzzle-based play, while intuitive and simple at first, quickly becomes difficult enough that it may frustrate some children. In other words, it's safe for kids to play, but they might not get as much out of it as older tweens, teens, and adult players.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhkjsgyigmghsk December 16, 2008

This is one brilliant non-violent game

While searching for the perfect game for my nephew, I came across this at best buy. I brought it home to try it out and see if there was anything wrong with it.... Continue reading
Adult Written bySuperCarefulMom February 21, 2009

Scary Undertones

The "Genetic Sorting Machine" where children are told that "some balls are prettier than others" is frightening. The "less fortunate... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 7, 2009

cool

awesome game but way too short
Teen, 15 years old Written byPrincessLeia July 30, 2009

The Game that will Have you playing for hours! AMAZING!

Definitely a fun game! My friends are a addicted to it! It challenges the player's mind, educating them on critical thinking, logic and most of all, creati... Continue reading

What's it about?

Available for PC and through WiiWare (Nintendo's downloadable game service for the Wii console), WORLD OF GOO is composed of a series of physics-based puzzles that involve building bridges, towers, scaffolds, and other structures out of the game's titular material. The general goal is to move the goop toward pneumatic pipes strategically positioned within two-dimensional environments. These pipes suck up the goo and take it to the World of Goo Corporation, where it is processed into various products. There are five chapters, each with over a dozen puzzles. When players aren't engaged in the story, they can head over to the World of Goo factory, where they can work with the bits of goop they have collected in an attempt to build the tallest possible tower. If you're connected to the Internet you'll be able to see goal marks representing other players' towers in the background.

Is it any good?

World of Goo is a breath of fresh air in the 2008 video game season that has been overrun to some degree by guns and gore. The googly-eyed goo balls are undeniably endearing creatures, the colourful 2-D environments create a visually satisfying Dr. Seuss-meets-Edward Gorey sort of atmosphere, and the almost ethereal background music often sounds as though it has been pilfered from a Tim Burton film. Plus, the game's clever story about the World of Goo Corporation draws some vague but thoughtful parallels with real-world companies without ever becoming preachy about it.

But it's World of Goo's physics-based conundrums that make the game a truly special -- perhaps even brilliant -- interactive experience. Most puzzles have wonderfully imaginative premises. For example, one level set in a tumbler sends the player's tower falling to the side every couple of seconds. You have to be quick, strategic, and patient, waiting for just the right moments to attach your goo balls to a long, narrow structure that eventually wedges itself between the barrel's rotating sides. The key to all of this goopy fun is how the goo balls are governed by the same physical laws present in our world. All we really need do to solve each puzzle is apply our understanding of real-world forces such as gravity and wind. It makes for wonderfully intuitive play that has potential to appeal to just about anyone -- though later puzzles are tricky enough that they might prove off-putting to younger players. It's one of the best and most innovative games of the year, and it's dirt cheap, to boot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the game's goo balls and how they are used by the corporation. Do you feel sad that they are destined to be made into various products? Do you think they mind?

  • Do you think that the game's makers were trying to make a statement about the way real-world corporations use natural resources? If so, what do you think that statement might be?

Game details

For kids who love building things

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