At the start of the month, an interesting French game called GooBox – Jeux Gratuits (Play Free) worked its way up to the #23 spot our October Top 25 Facegook Games rankings. Developed by Kobojo, it’s the fourth of five international titles sprinkling that list, and the third most popular new one. Evidently, it was translated to English just this past August, but before even that, the popular French application states that it earned an impressive 3 million users within its first month of existence.
The app is actually a compilation of six smaller mini-games with the whole “Goo” blob-game concept being an underlying theme for many of the visuals. In fact, a goo-creature is also your avatar, leveling up and changing visually as the player earns points, from playing the various games, towards new levels. Furthermore, many of these games ought to be familiar.
The first is a game called Elementz. Frankly, it looks pretty epic, but it really only breaks down to a time-trial rendition of the classic Bejeweled puzzle game. Players must align rows of three or more multi-colored orbs in an attempt to remove as many as possible, thus scoring as many points as possible before time expires. Linking four orbs of the same element together creates a charged orb, that when used in another combination releases a special power, removing multiple, adjacent orbs, and linking five sets off the reaction immediately. Obviously, this isn’t that original in terms of game play, but the visuals are fantastic to look at and it is still a lot of fun.
Of course, one doesn’t have to look very far for originality as the second game on the list, Goo Maze is much more so. Okay, so the concept of running through a maze isn’t that creative, but the presentation of it is wonderful. Players move from Point A to Point B while under a time limit, collecting gems for points and clocks for more time. What is pretty cool, though, is that you’re moving goo through the maze, and with its viscous nature, can expand through multiple paths of the level at once as you navigate your mouse pointer through. In the end, there still is only one path to win, but it does look very nice.
Frankly, of all the games, only two are a little drab looking (but only when compared to the others). The two word games, Word Party and Buzz Word are extremely simple in their design, but this is likely because of the type of thinking involved, so distracting animations and flickering colors would probably end up being obnoxious. The former is a simple word find while the latter is more akin to games like Word Challenge, having the player form as many words as they can within a limited span of time.
It is worth noting, that when one first visits GooBox, the game defaults to French… suffice to say, it makes these games somewhat hard until you notice the language selection in the upper left corner of the app. That said, just make sure you visit the English page.
The last two games are also really fun; dubbed Sushi Panic and Goo Deluxe. The latter has players removing multi-colored orbs of… well, goo, until none remain. The trick is to try and remove sets of two or more (the board shrinks with each removal, making new connections), because removing single orbs can only be done a limited number of times before there are no moves left and it is game over. As for Sushi Panic, this one is aptly named as players attempt to match up four of the same sushi dishes and remove them from the game field by shooting them up to hanging columns of the Japanese entrée. What makes this difficult, however, is that the sushi to be launched moves down an ever quickening conveyor belt. As you can probably guess, this quickly becomes a task of twitch reaction, timing, and visual acuity. Once that belt gets moving, it really is a sushi panic attack.
One way or another, all six games on GooBox – Jeux Gratuits are a ton of fun, and with the goo avatar that levels up as you garner higher scores, there is an added reward to continual playing. In fact, this enhancement is further improved by the ability to compete against your friends’ high scores in direct Challenges as well as simple leaderboard systems. Combine these features with GooBox’s beautiful visual presentation and… gooey, soundscape, it is easy to see how this French title has steadfastly held onto its, well earned, 3 million monthly active users.