Goo Saga – HD Edition is a 2016 platformer game by Toka Loka Games. A casual platformer with a cheery and cute art style, and a port of a mobile game with the same name, hence the “HD Edition” comes from. And we all know what the reaction of gamers in general when it comes to “mobile port”, “What belongs in a mobile app store, should’ve stay in a moblie app store”, I don’t disagree with this statement, the vast majority of mobile games don’t translate well into the big screen. either it’s the terrible control or various mobile game designs that for some reason (read: Laziness) carried out to it’s big screen counterpart, resulting an awkaward and restrictive experience.
Developer: Toka Loka Games
Publisher: Toka Loka Games
Genre: Platform Adventure
Release date: 26 September, 2016
Type: Single Player
With that said, I might just shrug off this game almost instantly, yes “almost”, since, most of the mobile games that I can consider has a successfull port are platformer, even then more than half of them leave a lot to be desired. And I’m glad to say that Goo Saga HD Edition succeed where most devs fails, and that makes a seamless transition from mobile to a PC *cough* Square Enix *cough*. Oh, and I want to clarify that I’ve never played this game on mobile before, I just do a little research before making this review, in fact, I don’t realize if it’s originated from there.
Goo Saga, at it’s core is your standard platformer, and it IS your standard platformer, with your standard platformer controls. You jump from platform to another platform, moving through levels, avoiding (or smashing) enemies, collecting coins, avoiding obstacles / environmental hazards, and all that stuffs. Goo Saga goes a bit further with it’s mechanic, notably having upgrades and a more open and “semi-linear” levels. Both aren’t a groundbreaking or innovative in any way, but at least it give the players some replay value, and both the level design and upgrades are well thought of. Speaking of upgrades, you can swap up, mx-match your upgrades everytime you wanted to, and that’s a nice little gameplay mechanic, again it’s not the most exciting thing ever, and given the small scope of this game, it won’t do much, but it does allow a slightly different experience on every playthrough.
The main draw of this game is it’s really appealing art style, you are controlling this cute little creature that gradually change it’s colour every time you collect the coins. Combined with a really nice looking levels and a well designed enemies, it’s all around visually pleasant game. The levels, on top of looking pretty, are also varied. You start in a laboratory, to an underground cave, and to a security complex. It doesn’t have the most seamless level transition ever, hell, it could be kinda jarring whenever I see where I came from, and ended up to, thanks to the consistent atmosphere, it managed to mask the majority of “out of place” feeling. Another great thing about this soundtrack, it’s “enchanting”, to say the least. It gives a calm and light fantasy vibes with a nice spark of sense of urgency. And that’s why it can easily changed to whatever mood they are tryiing to convey. A nice balance of both in Normal mode, a more reserved, calmer, and the one that whispers “be careful” in Survival mode, and the upbeat and urgent type in “Time Trial”. All around good and fitting soundtracks.
As you have noticed, there are 3 gameplay modes in this game: “Normal”, “Survival”, and “Time Trial”. Normal is a mode where you go through the levels, collecting coins, and passing through checkpoints. If you managed to collect 80% of all available coins, you’ll unlock the next mode, Survival, which is basically Normal mode without checkpoints, and then Time Trial, which is Survival with time limit, and that’s where the switchable upgrades come into play, do you want to be an agile and “frail” Goo or the tanky and less agile one? Tackling the same level with different route and approach, which is a great way to add replay value. The one noticeable flaw in this game is the slippery control, It might be because it’s the point of this game, you’re controlling a slimy character, but I still find the control can be frustrating at times, Goo is hard to contorl, the three states of Goo (Normal, Inflated, and Deflated) while has a noticeable movement advantages and disadvantages, they don’t differ much, and that renders the Agility upgrade quite essnetial. It might be because I’m using keyboard instead of controller, and I can imagine it to be more precise with one, but I’ve played other platformers with tight controls even with mouse and keyboard. And I think that’s pretty much it.
To summarize, Goo Saga – HD Edition is a good example on how to do a mobile port right. No visual and technical glitches, and has a nice amount of contents, with actual good quality to justify it’s place as a big screen game. A great artstyle, pleasant soundtrack, levels with both quality and quantity, and challenging modes adds a good amount of fun factor and replay value. It’s a great, simple platformer, that you can start up anytime if you need a calming casual gaming time.