Archive for the 'puzzle' Category

World of Goo

October 15, 2008

World of Goo is a physics-based puzzle game, a sequel to the freeware Tower of Goo experimental game. It plays something like a cross between the Bridge Builder/Pontifex games from Chronic Logic and Lemmings; imagine constructing a bridge a piece at a time from living creatures and trying to shepherd all of your construction materials into the exit gate to complete the level. The game is charmingly and slickly presented in a cartoon style and has some great music, some of which is reminiscent of the Michael Nyman’s excellent score to The Piano.

The demo features the first of the four chapters from the full game, as well as the online high score mini-game. The twelve included levels will take around an hour for the first run through; some of them will probably require several attempts. The difficulty is never an issue though, there are multiple paths through the demo and you can skip failed levels if you really need to. By the time you’ve finished most will seem quite simple in retrospect, although first time through a few had me pausing and staring for a minute whilst thinking how to approach them – an excellent sign of originality. The fundamental mechanic of the game doesn’t change as you progress – the triangle is the strongest shape in nature, so you build a lot of triangles – but the use you put those triangles to is mixed up with every level and new mechanics are introduced rapidly, moving you from a basic goo blob that can make two new connections to lighter-than-air and detachable goos. The demo is highly replayable, the physics tends to lead to messy and organic solutions that you can always go back to and improve. Each level has a completion target and an extra, very difficult advanced target that usually relies on exploiting some twist in the mechanics. In addition to picking up the advanced targets you’ll want to ensure you’ve got as much goo as possible to the exit to use it in the high-score mode. Instead of just recording the amount of material you escaped with the demo gives you access to all the goo you’ve saved and tasks you with building a tower with it, and the height of that tower is your high score.

The demo has unusual tactile qualities – at first it’s a bit annoying that when you pick up a bit of goo to move it you have to take it around any obstacles (and can accidentally kill it if you drag it into a hazard) and some levels require speed and precision clicking that are more FPS than puzzle game, although there’s an auto-aim. However, once you start working out how to exploit the physics you’ll love it. World of Goo is a unique, deep, replayable, and thoroughly great demo that will really grow on you. Everyone should play it. It absolutely deserves to be GameDemoReviews’ first 3/3 demo.

3/3 – Drop what you’re doing and play this

Tech Details:

Size: 30MB

System Requirements:1.0 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, DirectX 9 graphics card, 800×600 screen resolution (locked, i.e. no widescreen mode or higher resolutions available) Windows XP/Vista (Mac, Linux versions in development)

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May 9, 2008

Audiosurf is closer to an interactive music visualiser than a game. You load up a track from your MP3 collection, the game converts it into an undulating pattern of slow rises and downhill rushes, and you pilot a spaceship along a Rez-inspired abstract path populated by blocks to dodge or collect; it’s rather like playing F-zero along a Guitar Hero fret. Collected blocks accumulate at the bottom of the screen in a simple colour-matching puzzle game, with a few variations depending on which of the 4 ships you picked. This all fits together to create a basic music game. The controls are too floaty to suit most high score chasers, but there are online per-track leaderboards if it grabs you that way. The trouble with the Audiosurf demo is that as soon as you’re getting a sense of all this and beginning to enjoy it, the demo’s ridiculously low 4-song limit kicks in. To top it off, the limit is poorly communicated, it’s not generally mentioned on download pages (Steam or otherwise) and in-game the song countdown is not as noticeable as it should be. Based on the very limited experience it’s hard to even tell if the game is fun, certainly the demo is so short that there’s no entertainment here.

Score: 0/3 – Waste of pixels

Tech details:

Size: 64 MB plus ~60 MB post-install update, or 375 MB via Steam, which preloads the full game

System Requirements: 1.6 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 32 MB GeForce 2 or higher, Windows XP/Vista