Goo Saga takes us to a secret underwater laboratory, where a strange flexible goo comes to life after a scientist spent his entire life to do so.
You play as this goo character as you search for your creator as he has mysteriously disappeared after you came alive. The gameplay from Goo Saga is completely the same as Leo’s Fortune, which was an award-winning platformer game developed by 1337 & Senri AB. Whilst almost mimicking Leo’s Fortune’s gameplay to a tee, it still doesn’t have that completely polished feel to it. As you control Goo through the game’s side-scrolling platform levels, you soon realize that the controls are not as responsive as you would hope. It is extremely difficult just to get your character to stand still, never mind about complete a fairly complex jumping puzzle.
Each of the levels contains some form of a puzzle for you to complete, these usually consist of physics based puzzles or timed events. The levels also consist of a handful of enemies which you need to avoid or destroy. Of course, it wouldn’t be a side-scrolling platformer without some form of coin for you to pick up either; these make up the game’s currency system which brings me onto Goo Saga’s unique point - the upgrade system.
I can’t remember the last time a side-scrolling platforming puzzle game had some sort of upgrade system. Letting the player spend crystal points on a number of different aspects of your character, such as agility, additional health points and speed for instance. Whilst this system was unique and nice to have, it almost felt a little redundant because you can still finish the game without needing to spend any points in the upgrade system and the crystals needed to keep spending points become harder and harder to obtain the further you get into the game.
Goo Saga’s level design was fairly interesting. All of the levels do have the same sort of feel about them, but there is enough variety to keep you going between the 20 stages. With 12 different types of enemies and 4 bosses for you to conquer along the way. Again, much like Leo’s Fortune, Goo Saga has various different modes for each level - the story mode, a survival mode and a time trial mode. These will offer significant amounts of replayability to anyone who really takes a fancy to this title, but the casual players amongst us will find the story mode to suffice enough.
The art and graphical style didn’t blow me away at any point. It is your bog standard 2D platformer with no real special effects that left you wanting more. The art style has a very blue-scale look to it and doesn’t really offer anything to get excited about. Some of the animations that can be seen by Goo mainly are rather off-putting as well; for instance, when trying to squeeze through small pipes it can lead to Goo having a little bit of a fit and just glitching out rather than the normal animation. It is a little off putting and was disappointing to see it when the graphical fidelity isn’t exactly taxing. The soundtrack is very catchy; it does play constantly throughout the game with very little room for variant tracks, but it matches the theme of the game very well. The sound effects are fitting too; with some very satisfying squelches and belches as Goo traverses through levels bouncing around.
Goo Saga HD isn’t a very long game. The story mode can be completed in roughly two hours. It is short, but you try and name a recent puzzle platformer that was a nine-hour long single player? It’s hard to nowadays. Goo Saga will add replayability with the two additional game modes if you really want to test your platforming skills but like I said up top, the one play through the story mode will be enough to quench most players thirst for this kind of experience.
I had a couple of issues with Goo Saga on the technical side of things was that whilst the game promotes that you should be using a controller to play; it isn’t 100% controller friendly. Menus need to be navigated through with the use of a mouse, meaning it will detract from the fact that this is a game that would be much better played sitting on your couch on a TV rather than at a desk. The other issue, which again is about the mouse; when you do use it to conduct your business in any of the menus but then go into a game, the cursor will just stay there where you left it on screen; it would have made the world of difference if it was coded to disappear after a few seconds of inactivity, rather than have me move the mouse off screen myself.
Goo Saga is an average puzzle platformer that ticks a couple of boxes when it comes to this genre of game. There is definitely better out there such as the aforementioned Leo’s Fortune, but there is definitely a whole lot worse too. The game’s retail price will do it some favors but I see this game being part of bundles in a few months time rather than becoming a staple in people’s libraries of must play platformers.