For the past couple of months my default, “let’s kill 20 minutes” game has been 2D Boy’s World of Goo.
WoG, for the uninitiated, is a physics based puzzle game involving little blobs of goo. The object is to get as many goo balls as possible into a feeder pipe that takes them all away. Of course, getting the goo balls to these pipes is something of a challenge. The player must use the goo balls to build bridges, towers, chains, etc. all while trying to get a minimum number of goo balls to the pipe in order to complete a level.
Along the way, new forms of goo balls are introduced including red, explosive ones, clear, water-like ones that always hang down in drips, and green, “connector” goo balls that can be re-used several times. Many of the puzzles and challenges involve using a specific type of goo ball to reach the pipe.
There is a story too, but it is secondary to the main action of playing the game. It mainly unfolds in the cut scenes at the end of a level or between stages, although there are signs left by “The Signpainter” in all the worlds that offer bits of philosophy, warnings, or just observations.
World of Goo is a beautiful game. The design of the goo balls and the worlds they inhabit is just spectacular. The artists and designers found the sweet spot between cartoonish and childish that brings back reminiscences of Saturday mornings and sugary cereal. Further, the soundtrack is equally beautiful. The designers at 2D Boy created several loops that blend together and play back in almost transcendent harmonies and pieces that are so good, the soundtrack by itself is almost as much fun as the game.
WoG is available for Mac, PC, Linux, and Wii and costs 15 to 20 bucks. It's worth every penny.