World of Goo

Common Sense Media says

Brilliant physics-based puzzler turns player into engineer.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering
  • gravity
  • physics

Arts

  • sculpture

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction
  • logic

Creativity

  • making new creations

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Sharp humor, heaps of personality, varied puzzles, and building with goo keep players hooked.

Learning Approach

Lots of fun, trial and error learning teaches about shapes and physics, but without explicit explanation.

Support

Intuitive controls and clues left in each level help, but this is a puzzler.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering
  • gravity
  • physics

Arts

  • sculpture

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction
  • logic

Creativity

  • making new creations

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sansing

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Platforms:Mac, Nintendo Wii, Windows
Price:$19.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2D Boy
Release date:October 13, 2008
Genre:Puzzle
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief (Mac, Nintendo Wii, Windows)

This review of World of Goo was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old March 7, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

cool

awesome game but way too short
Adult Written byhkjsgyigmghsk December 16, 2008
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

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. A few goo balls get impaled on spikes, but otherwise, it's completely safe. I agree with this article, though. Many of the levels were difficult for me, but seeing as my nephew is 9, I don't think it will do anything but cause him delight.
Teen, 15 years old Written byPrincessLeia July 30, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

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, creativity! With many mind bending puzzles and hundreds of options to complete each level, it's so much fun and enticing! From the first moment I've played it, I couldn't stop. It gets more interesting and interesting the more you play. The first world is easy, but somewhat during the second world, it gets harder, and by the time you're on the fourth world, it's challenging! I would recommend it for kids ten and up, unless their is a super-genius four year old in your house. No doubt about it, the game is INCREDIBLE!
What other families should know
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