World of Goo oozes onto iPads

Already a smash hit on the PC, Mac, and Wii, this physics-based puzzler makes a stellar debut on the iPad. My advice: get it while it's on sale.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
It may look a little weird--and it is--but World of Goo offers wholly original gameplay for fans of physics-based puzzles.
It may look a little weird--and it is--but World of Goo offers wholly original gameplay for fans of physics-based puzzles. Screenshot by Rick Broida

If you never had the pleasure of playing World of Goo on your PC, Mac, or Wii, you missed out on one of the most original and endearing games in recent memory.

Now you can get Goo to go: World of Goo just landed on the iPad. The question is, how does it compare with its desktop and console counterparts?

Very, very well. The World of Goo is populated by Goo Balls--cute, yelping little blobs. In each level, it's your job to guide them to a specific destination: up a tube, across a bridge, and so on. The Goo Balls themselves become part of whatever structure you have to build, but if you use too many of them, you won't accomplish your collection goal.

The game's designers have sculpted a gorgeous, cinematic world, from mystery-shrouded cutscenes to alternately dreamlike and inspiring soundtracks that accompany each level.

What's interesting about the game is that you learn as you go. Developer 2D Boy provides no instructions, save for cryptic clues presented in-game by the mysterious "Sign Painter." It can be a little frustrating at times not to know if you're doing things right--or you may find discovery to be part of the fun.

The desktop versions rely on the mouse for Goo Ball placement; on the iPad, as you might expect, your finger does the job. This works reasonably well, though sometimes it can block your view and interfere with your success.

I should point out that the developer's Web site currently has no iPad-specific support for the game, and even the support forums are "under construction." For help, you're directed to a fan-driven site.

World of Goo is currently on sale for $4.99, down from its launch price of $9.99. I'm not sure for how long, but I do think 2D Boy would be wise to make that sale price permanent. Many gamers will balk even at that $4.99 price, if only because so many other great iPad games cost only a buck or two.

That said, I urge you to give World of Goo a try. Like its predecessors, it's one of the most unique and entertaining physics-based puzzlers you'll ever play.