The Goobs Review

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Publisher: Red Claw Software
Developer: Red Claw Software

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 16 MB video card

A gaggle of happy little yellow creatures called Goobs have been taken from their home planet Stoompf and stranded on a series of platforms floating in space. The Goobs need your assistance to collect energy balls on their way to the exit tunnels that will take them home. The game can be downloaded here.

Kyle Ackerman

The Goobs is a polished implementation of a genre of puzzle game that both casual and dedicated gamers will surely recognize. Each level is a unique puzzle that must be solved by using your Goobs to push boxes around and navigate paths of collapsing floor tiles to reach every floating energy globe before finding the exit. Like other games of this sort, puzzles are comprised of a grid of squares (this one is twenty tiles by twelve), and every square has a tile that might be a normal floortile, collapsing floortile, wall or door. To complicate things, there are Lazers [sic] that will kill a Goob if it crosses the beam, tiles that push you in certain directions, boxes that can be pushed or used to traverse empty space, keys for doors, and switches that change the function of other tiles. All of these are arranged in complex patterns that get increasingly difficult over the course of fifty levels.

The game is effectively turn based, as each tap of an arrow key will move you one space. That's particularly helpful for folks with older computers, although gamers with cutting edge machines may find that the pause between movements (even at the fastest setting) is longer than they might like. Players can take as long as they wish to contemplate moves, ultimately collecting every pulsating energy ball and evacuating all The Goobs from the floating platforms. The graphics are colorful, and all the tiles are distinct and easily identified. The sounds are well executed, and (with the exception of an occasional, unintended popping sound) are as cute as The Goobs themselves.

What sets The Goobs most apart from other such puzzle games is having multiple Goobs on each level. This can dramatically increase the complexity of a given level by forcing the player to carefully consider the placement of all Goobs, maneuvering them as a team to activate switches and push boxes about. The game also does quite a few things right. In spite of being a polished program, the file is small, making it easily downloadable even using a dial-up connection. There is a simple-to-learn level editor, with an integrated test function. That means you only need inspiration to construct new levels – there is no need to learn a complex interface. You can even download other players' levels (or submit your own) here.

The Goobs is a skillfully developed puzzle game. It's also a puzzle game you've seen in hundreds of other forms. While The Goobs is as good as any – perhaps even better – it's currently selling for just under $15, which is more expensive than some of the almost-as-good alternatives.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 24, 2003 5:28 PM.

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