Utopian Games (developers of Bumps and Tumble Jumble) recently released a new iPhone puzzle game called Red Ball of Goo. The concept is simple, by tapping anywhere on the left or right side of the screen, players must roll their cute little Red Ball of Goo around the various platforms collecting each of the purple balls of goo. Once you’ve collected all the goo, a halo-shaped goal appears and you must then successfully navigate your way to it to complete the level. The challenging part is keeping your ball of goo from rolling off the screen into oblivion. While this sounds easy enough, let me assure you, it’s not! The goo can build up momentum surprisingly fast, making it tough to perform a quick change in direction to keep yourself from plumeting off the edge of a platform. To be successful, you’ll need just the right timing, steady hands, a lite touch and a little finesse.

Though it doesn’t show it, the game was created in just 24 hours. What Utopian Games has been able to accomplish in such a short period is rather impressive. I’ve played quite a number of games that have had much longer developement cycles that aren’t nearly as polished looking or entertaining as Red Ball of Goo. Once again Utopian Games has teamed up with the talented folks at Sprite Attack for simple, stunning backdrops and charming graphics which are very reminiscent of those in Bumps. The game also features the musical stylings of Utopian’s usual collaborator Ben Reason, who provides a catchy soundtrack and great sound effects.

At launch Red Ball of Goo contained 30 levels, but has just gotten an upgrade with 10 additional levels, all of which are unlocked from the start, allowing you to skip around and complete them at will. A recent update to the game has made some slight improvements to the controls, but they still seem don’t seem to be quite responsive enough to make your ball of goo switch direction quickly enough once he’s built up some momentum. I should also mention that there is a tilt control option, but it was nearly impossible for me to beat even a single level using this input method. The ten newest levels also feature new artwork and music and Utopian tells us that even more levels are on the way. A few of the new levels feature multiple red balls of goo which must be controlled simultaneously, adding to the the game’s already advanced difficulty.

The one place where the game falls a little short is the lack any sort of per-level scoring mechanism, like how quickly you completed the level or a global leaderboard even just to track the number of levels beaten. The latter of which can be directly attributed to the fact that the game was developed using Game Salad. I’m disappointed that the folks at Game Salad still have not addressed the lack of Game Center and/or OpenFeint support by now, but this just doesn’t seem to be a priority for them and unfortunately it means that quality games developed using their tool lose out. The lack of such features means that Goo’s re-playability could be limited once you’ve beaten all the levels. The good news (or bad depending on how you look at it) is that many of the levels are pretty darn tough, meaning that it’ll probably take you a while to complete the game even once.

In Conclusion

Red Ball of Goo is a great looking and fun, but sometimes frustrating, puzzle game. Its higher degree of difficulty will certainly turn off players looking for a more casual experience. It seems like Utopian Games took the feedback they got from Bumps being too easy and unfortunately steered this game a little too far in the opposite direction; it is not very forgiving! It is worth noting that there is also an iPad version available, confusingly-named Red Balls of Goo which appears to have different levels from those in the iPhone release. If you like challenging puzzle games and have the nerves of a surgeon, then Red Ball of Goo will give you a run for your dollar.

Want some FREE Goo?

We are giving away several promo codes for free copies of the iPhone version of Red Ball of Goo. There are three ways to participate in the giveaway, each will earn you ONE entry to win a code:
  1. Follow @OTGGamer (or a href=”http://twitter.com/appaddictnet” target=”_blank”>@AppAddictnet) AND tweet the following message
    I just entered to win a copy of Red Ball of Goo from AppAddict.net and @UtopianGames! – http://bit.ly/GooGiveaway #RBOG #Giveaway #iPhone“.  
    Note: Tweeting multiple times WILL NOT increase your chances to win, only your first tweet will count toward the contest, so no need to spam your followers.
  2. Leave a comment below, saying why you’d like to win a copy.
  3. Click here, become a fan of AppAddict.net on Facebook and either like or leave a comment on the post for THIS review/contest.

Each method above will earn you one entry into the contest for the promo codes, regardless of method of entry, you are only eligible to win one promo code per person. Don’t worry, your email address is not visible to anyone but us and will only be used to contact you regarding this contest.

The giveaway will run until 11:59 PM EST on Saturday November 06, 2010.

*First commenter below is guaranteed to win a copy.

iPhone Trailer

iPad – Red Balls of Goo