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Video Game / World of Goo

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The millions of Goo Balls who live in the beautiful World of Goo don't know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.

World of Goo is an indie Puzzle Game by 2D Boy, a two-person team consisting of former Electronic Arts employees Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel, with some help. In it, the player constructs intricate structures from intelligent globs of goo, with the deceptively simple goal of leading the remaining free members of the swarm to each level's exit pipe. Deceptive, because this two-dimensional world is contrived to put as many highly varied obstacles into your path as possible. The game takes place on an unspecified planet where the Goo balls live. World of Goo Corporation is interested in harnessing the goo for their products, so you have to help them.

Spun off from the simpler Tower of Goo student project, the gameplay is pushed into an increasing variety of directions by the long string of newfound species of goo, each possessing unique properties to experiment with. The slowly building story is told through a deliberately primitive, child-like art style in the rare cutscenes, and more profusely through the text of helpful signs posted in each level by the mysterious and enigmatic Sign Painter.

The whole of Chapter 1 is in a free demo for Windows/Mac/Linux. The full version can be found on basically any modern gaming device from the past 8 years, being ported to WiiWare, iOS, Android, the aforementioned Windows, Mac and Linux, and most recently, the Nintendo Switch. A bonus sixth chapter on the Moon was originally planned for retail but never materialized. A whole community of user-made levels and other add-ons can be found at GooFans.

Kyle Gabler would eventually go on to establish Tomorrow Corporation, a three-person team consisting of him, Kyle Gray, and Allan Blomquist. Tomorrow Corporation would end up developing and publishing World of Goo for the Nintendo Switch, and eventually a sequel, World of Goo 2, fifteen years after the original game's release.

Do not confuse with Word of God.

This game provides examples of:

  • 20% More Awesome: When you unlock Tower of Goo Memorial Park and Recreation Center, its description reads that it's "Now 20% more infinite in all directions".
  • Advanced Movement Technique: Thwacking, the act of quickly throwing a goo ball at a structure, can often be used in place of actually building a structure. In other cases it can be used to balance a structure much faster than using the whistle.
  • Advanced Tech 2000: The Freedom Scraper 3000 in "Welcoming Unit".
  • Alertness Blink: Newly-awakened goo balls produce a peculiar sound and a visible "!" above their eyes as they become active.
  • Ambiguously Evil:
  • Alice and Bob: Used in a Chapter 4 level called "Alice and Bob and the Third Party", where you intercept information-goo transmitted from cosmicGrrrl! to LaconicCrusadr13.
  • Antagonist Title: World of Goo Corporation, though seemingly benevolent or harmless in the first two chapters, is revealed to be the antagonist group in the third chapter threatening humans and the environment alike.
  • Arc Words:
    • "You can't stop progress" is often dropped in relation to World of Goo Corporation and their heavily materialistic outlook, particularly in the context of sacrificing something (or someone) in the name of further expansion.
    • "We're all in this together" is another frequently-dropped phrase, usually in relation to levels where The Needs of the Many is invoked as a justification for sacrificing some goo to extract other, implicitly more 'valuable' goo balls such as "Regurgitation Pumping Station" and "Genetic Sorting Machine."
  • Art Shift: In Chapter 4, Product Z turns the entire world three-dimensional. The colour scheme becomes predominantly green, and the new Goo species has a cubic shape, both of which are meant to evoke the look of the Cyberspace.
  • Big Bad: The titular World of Goo Corporation is revealed to be destroying the planet with their industrial technology and aims to turn the entire world into a 3D space where 2D beings are incompatible.
  • Bittersweet Ending: World Of Goo Corporation is destroyed and Product Z is shut down, but the world is left in ruins. Later, the Epilogue reveals that all Goo Balls, except the "scientifically pure" ones, have been sucked away to the "Tower of Goo Memorial Park and Recreation Center". The last level reveals that the Goo Balls have gone completely extinct, and you use some balloon-like fish to raise the telescope beyond the layer of smog. While it fails to see what the Painter saw, the ending reveals that the Goo Balls that escaped back at the end of Chapter 1 have managed to reach a far-off planet and repopulate it with nothing but Goo Balls, meaning that they are no longer endangered of being used or going extinct.
  • Blob Monster: When not connected, the goos are simple circular blobs.
  • Bowdlerise: Inverted for the Linux version at the end of Chapter 3. In most versions one of the World of Goo inhabitants says "What is it?", while in Linux she says "WTF?".
  • But Thou Must!:
    • In Chapter 4, you are asked for confirmation on undeleting all of MOM's junk mail. The two choices are "ok" and "yes."
    • If you try to get MOM to erase the cookies concerning your personal data, she accepts, then informs you that they may in fact not have been entirely deleted, and... you're back to the beginning of the discussion tree.
  • Catching Some Z's: Goo that are sleeping have Z's coming out of them.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Goos have different colours to represent their distinctive properties. The most basic Goo is black, but later levels introduce Red Goo that explode when lit on fire, White Goo that have extra legs and Green Goo that can be detached and relocated in the player's construct.
  • Cosmetic Award: The "OCD"note  goals of each level serve no purpose but to provide the player with an optional challenge.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The World of Goo is a verdant, bright place filled with adorable goo balls. It's also controlled by a sinister MegaCorp that has no qualms with leaving the environment in ruins or driving the Goo to extinction in the name of producing more products, with the citizens being either too apathetic or too blindly materialistic to do anything to stop this.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Red Goo are meant to be lit on fire, as it causes a powerful explosion that can destroy obstacles. Unfortunately, this also invariably results in the Goo's death.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The reddish water in "Grape Vine Virus" lets your goo balls join together and form a rope, at the cost of also making them one-use-only.
  • Cyber Space: "Information Superhighway," an entire chapter dedicated to programming jokes and New Media Tropes.
  • Dem Bones: One species of goo confuses the Sign Painter as to whether they're "alive... or dead. Probably polite to pretend we don't notice." These skull-shaped goo balls are the only species invulnerable to the ubiquitous Spikes of Doom.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The last level of the Epilogue is titled "Observatory Observation Station".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The goo is a black, viscous, gooey substance which is crucial to the economy note , kind of like some other black, viscous, gooey substance in real life!
    • MOM is an uber-powerful search engine with suspicious policies regarding privacy and user's personal data.
    • A guy in the iPad version says that there used to be a great market, only it fell apart because everything dropped to 99 cents. Hmm, who does that remind us of?
  • Ending by Ascending:
    • Chapter 1 ends with sending a goo structure up into the atmosphere using balloon eyes, where they discover new islands with other species of goo.
    • The Epilogue ends when the player sends an island with a telescope into the sky, which discovers that there are other worlds with species of goo.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In chapter 4, the sinister, polluting, extinction-causing MegaCorp is brought down by a crazed, identity-stealing spambot.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The game's achievement system is called "Obsessive Completion Distinction", a.k.a. OCD.
  • The Ghost: The Sign Painter has left messages in almost every level, but never appears in person.
  • Green Hill Zone: Chapter 1 "The Goo Filled Hills" is much greener and less industrialized than the other chapters.
  • Interactive Startup: You can pick up and toss the goo on the title screen.
  • Internal Homage: The level "Tower of Goo" is a homage to the original Tower of Goo game, complete with the Sign Painter saying the goo balls feel like they've done something like this before, but things were more "experimental" back then, referencing the original name of the website, Experimental Gameplay.
  • In the Style of:
  • Loading Screen:
    • While loading, the level's title is displayed with a piece of text just long enough for you to read in the brief waiting period. It varies from being descriptive to simply amusing.
    • On startup, the game offers a series of such technical status updates as 'distilling beauty...', ' debating games as art ' and 'embiggening prototypes...'
  • Malevolent Architecture: Given an early Lampshade Hanging by the Sign Painter in the fourth level, who remarks on the goo recognising the level's "ridiculously contrived terrain". True to their words, the massive overhang the goos have to traverse sports a pair of dangerous rotating blades which kill any goo touching them, forcing them to build at a very odd angle over a body of water.
  • MegaCorp: The bleak, faceless World Of Goo Corporation harvests the Goo from across the world to use in the development of their products.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: The Sign Painter does show to be a bit unhinged throughout the game, but near the end, when he starts losing hope in the player and the goo balls, his messages become discouraging and passively agressive.
    The Sign Painter: It's probably best to skip this area and never come back. Nobody will even notice.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In chapter 4, the screen violently shakes before a message suddenly pops up: "New mail!" Cue the World of Goo Corp. exploding due to the flood of emails.
  • One-Woman Wail: "Welcome to the Information Superhighway" contains this, as a reprise of "Screamer".
  • Puzzle Pan: The start of each level usually shows the pipe (or other key elements) before heading to the starting location.
  • Rhyme Theme Naming: Fisty and Misty, the two frogs found in Chapters 1 and 3, respectively.
  • Real Is Brown: Parodied — after updating the "graphics card" in Chapter 4, most of the subsequent levels contain nothing but grays, browns, and bloom.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the level "Volcanic Percolator Day Spa", there is a diseased-looking flower with a sign next to it saying "What a pretty flower! I wonder what happens if you get near it?". What happens if a goo ball gets near it (which requires the player to deliberately build out toward it) is that the flower's disease spreads to the goo balls, killing a large number of them and forcing the player to restart the level.
  • Sequel Hook: In the final level of Episode 1, you free a group of Goos by attaching several Goo Balloons to a structure they are clinging to. Before the game's credits, they are seen floating towards a planet populated with goo balls.
  • Sequence Breaking: You don't have to burn the man to complete the level. Or sacrifice any of the goo balls in The Red Carpet level. Since it's a physics-based game, people have discovered tricks to break some physics in his game to allow players to get way above OCD requirements of some levels.
  • Shareware: The PC demo allows you to play through the entirety of the first chapter with no restrictions imposed, but you will need to actually buy the game to continue on. The Wii demo doesn't count as shareware since you cannot save and it automatically terminates at a certain point.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Puzzle Boss flash game You Have to Burn the Rope is sent up with the sever-the-overhead-support level "You Have To Explode The Head"
    • The introductory text for the fourth level contains a shout-out to Armadillo Run, another indie puzzle game with a similar premise. This borders on a Lampshade Hanging: the sign in that same level mentions an armadillo for no apparent reason.
    • The Dialogue Tree with MOM includes the classic Glory Days exchange from the film Sunset Boulevard.
    • In one puzzle, you have to start your web from a frog's mouth. The Sign Painter mentions that the frog had sworn to never be like those frogs that shoot colored gems out of their mouths, but he got curious and wanted to try anyway.
    • A sign in "Ode to the Bridge-Builder" references the song "O Superman" by Laurie Anderson. Also, Bridge Builder is one of the Chroniclogic's physics-based construction series. ODE is actually the physics engine World Of Goo is largely based on.
    • One of the loading messages is "challenging everything."
    • There's a level called "Blustery Day".
    • A number of parallels exist between MOM and Big Brother. Likely not coincidental, given they're both titles for family members.
  • Signpost Tutorial: The signposts scattered around the stages will tell you how the new type of goo works if you encounter one, as well as give hints on how to clear the stage. It's also where most of the story is contained.
  • Spikes of Doom: A recurring obstacle that is lethal to goo balls, save for one bony species.
  • Sticky Bomb: One of the species of Goo is named after this trope, and it can be attached to walls before being detonated via exposure to fire.
  • Story Breadcrumbs:
    • The messages left for you by The Sign Painter and... someone else...
    • The Sign Painter also leaves you a message in the PC version's config file, warning you not to change it lest "your computer probably explode."
  • Take That!:
    • All done in the game's very quirky style of humor. Consumerism, marketing, search engines, ubiquitous surveillance, cultural standards of beauty, they all take some flak.
    • The developers claim that the titular World Of Goo Corporation that sucks the life out of the environment to create more products to sell is a metaphor for game publishers they had to deal with. Since they're ex-EA employees, it's probably not hard to tell which ones.
    • OCD pretty much mocks the player for trying so hard to get the achievement.
  • Timed Mission: Some OCD requirements require you to complete the level within a certain time limit. The only stage with an actual time limit is "Super Fuse Challenge Time", which will cause the tower to collapse after the matchstick goo fuse starts demolishing the tower.
  • Time Rewind Mechanic: The player can travel back in time to undo one move by clicking on Time Bugs, which are little fly-like creatures that spawn occasionally whenever a move is made.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: With use of certain tricks, you can save far more goo balls than the regular level goal expects of you.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Aside from the necessary sacrifices, there are many times when it's easier to sacrifice a number of goo balls rather than trying to save them all.
  • Wham Episode: Two particular ones. "Product Launcher", where Product Z is launched and causes the world to become 3D, rendering the player incompatible with it, And "Deliverance" which concludes with the destruction of World of Goo Corporation!