Review by Chad Sansing, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2012
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World of Goo

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Fun puzzler about building structures with unique materials

Subjects & skills
  • Science

  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (3 Reviews)

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Pros: Intuitive controls, great design, and lots of implicit learning make this a winner to explore.

Cons: Some of the challenging puzzles may frustrate kids with spatial difficulties.

Bottom Line: This game offers a dependable hook for getting kids interested in geometry and the elements of building structures.

Teachers can set kids loose on the game and its World of Goo Corporation sandbox mode before or after basic geometry lessons. As kids experiment with different structures made of different kinds of goo, they'll internalize lots of transferable lessons about how to build strong structures in the real world, which makes playing World of Goo good practice for solving geometry problems and tackling building projects across the curriculum. Since the game has an open sandbox mode in which to experiment with new building ideas, teachers could use this mode to pose challenges to students or hold contests. Teachers can also help kids analyze the humor and plot of the game, which parodies modern consumerism culture and technology.

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Playing World of Goo is like building with Lincoln Logs made of Jell-O. It's fun and frustrating all at once, the way a good puzzler should be. Tons of humor and personality make this game a unique physics-based builder. Players must use different varieties of sticky goo balls and construction aids like balloons to create bridges that let unused goo balls escape through a pipe that sucks them up at the end of each level. Each level has a minimum requirement of goo balls to save; any extras that the player saves get sent to the World of Goo Corporation sandbox, where kids are free to build the highest towers they can using what they've learned about shapes, stability, and gravity.

World of Goo does a phenomenal job of balancing the joy and agony of trial-and-error puzzle-solving. Kids will learn a lot about the games' physics and what kinds of shapes and materials make the best structures. The learning is baked-in, but in a way that has kids experimenting with building structures and learning from their failures. When you fail a level, you can immediately retry it with no penalty. A safe and supportive online community and wiki are available to help kids if they get stuck on a level.


Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

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

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

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

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

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

Common Sense Reviewer
Chad Sansing Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
August D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Ridgewood Elementary School
Eureka, United States
Delightful, Quirky Characters Become the Building Blocks of this Unique Puzzle Builder
As a game, World of Goo is top notch. The characters are unusual and charming, the music is beautiful and intriguing, and the game play is challenging and rewarding. Once accustomed to the nature of the building medium (i.e. "goo" balls of various abilities), players use the principles of interative design to build toward different exits on each level. If a structure lacks integrity, down it comes, and the design process begins again. An unlockable level allows players to build with unlimited goo balls ...
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