Earlier this week indie developer 2D Boy surprised and delighted the iPad gaming world by revealing that its critical hit World of Goo will be passing through the “scary gates” of the App Store very soon.
To the uninitiated, World of Goo is a PC, Mac, and Wii game in which you need to guide a sufficient number of blobs from one part of a level to a pipe at another by building various structures using different types of goo ball. Think Lemmings mixed with structural engineering and the films of Tim Burton.
The critics love it: only the two Mario Galaxy games and Zelda: Twilight Princess outrank the Wii version on Metacritic.
We got in touch with 2D Boy's Ron Carmel to get the lowdown on one of the iPad's most promising prospects.
Although the content of the game is the same as in previous versions, writes Carmel, “the iPad version feels a lot different. Your fingers are directly in the goo instead of using a kind of proxy device like a Wiimote or a mouse to control the game."
2D Boy has made a few extra tweaks to fit World of Goo to the format. "We re-implemented the controls to fit the touch interface. Up to 11 simultaneous touch points are supported. (What was Apple thinking when they decided on 11 touch points being the maximum number supported on the iPad?) There are also some UI tweaks to help see what kind of ball you're dragging.”
And in case you're wondering which version is 2D Boy's favourite: “iPad, by far, and I'm not just saying that. Beyond just the fact that touching the goo directly feels nicer, I had this series of 'wow' moments when I realized all the cool things that come into play with multitouch, like grabbing a few balls at once and building very quickly while also keeping a finger on the background for precise camera control.”
Those with a long memory may recall that this isn't the first time World of Goo has been announced for an iDevice. Just over a year ago, 2D Boy published a photo on its blog of the game running on an iPhone 3GS. The launch of the iPad clearly prompted 2D Boy to change its plans, but will there be an iPhone version?
“It's a possibility,” writes Carmel, “but the iPhone presents two challenges. First and foremost it's a smaller screen, which creates some UI and control challenges.
"Second is performance. The iPhone 4 is definitely fast enough, but the 3GS and older phones might not be able to run the game with the performance level we require.”
In short: “We'll see, we first wanted to get it out on iPad and we will start looking into the iPhone version soon.”
Turning to the all important question of price, World of Goo will cost £5.99 / $9.99 on iPad when it hits the App Store – half the price of the PC and Mac versions and about 50 per cent less than on Wii. Happy days.
Stay tuned for a launch announcement soon.