The auto-shooter genre has grown arms and legs at speed and whilst there are so many copy-cat Vampire Survivors out there, I’m more interested in games that try something different. Goobies takes the gooey route. Everything in this game is blobby, gooey and squishy and the game throws hundreds of enemies at you over time in a quick fire run that will keep you very entertained.
Goobies has several champions – or characters – for you to play as. You have to unlock them but each has different starting stats and something special about them. One shoots but has bonus things to choose from when they level up, Another is slower by throws grenades, not bullets. Another leaves a trail of lava behind them. All are useful in their own way. You’ll take them out into procedurally generated islands with nooks, rocks and dead ends to try and survive waves of enemies until you spawn a boss.
Enemies come at you in massive waves and as you level up your character or survive longer, trickier enemies appear in larger numbers. These often start to become a food chain of enemies, with harder enemies exploding in hordes of easier ones. Because there will be hundreds of them, the whole topography of your island will play a role because some of them can be very narrow or like a kidney bean and if you get caught at a dead end, you’ll be in for a world of pain. Your champions don’t have much health either so it keeps you on the move at all times. Bosses are a highlight too as they come with their own attacks and mini-bosses. You can also get to embody their spirit too, using their skills as an upgradable trait for yourself. Whilst this isn’t directly tied to killing them, unlocking variants of the game for your score multiplier is. Similar to Brotato, being able to add in additional challenges or support for each run is a welcome addition.
So far, so auto-shooter – but its your load outs that really made Goobies stand out.
Since you have so much chasing you to death, often guns aren’t as useful as other attacks. As you level up, you’ll get a choice of at least three upgrades at random and whilst some will include the standard health, damage, fire speed and character speed – there is a section dedicated to area of effect. Area of effect can apply to anything and you can boost individual weapons, that trail of lava mentioned earlier, other magical screen attacks and also just everything. This means that unlike many other auto shooters, I found myself building out loads to spread the damage far and wide rather than boosting targeted attacks. I could kill 200 enemies in a chain reaction of lava exploding a bomb enemy that catches fire to something else and so on. There’s an unhinged delightful chaos and fireworks about it that feels just different enough to make Goobies stand out. Other weapons (and there are loads) are available but I found myself enjoying these area of effect upgrades most.
The game is quite difficult too and whilst it says the game is open ended, I hear that if you reach level 80 and up, the XP pellets and enemies are so plentiful that the game grinds to a halt and you’ll die that way. Having made it to around level 55, I can see why it’d be a problem as blue XP dots cover the island like grass. Each playthrough brings overarching currency to then spend on game wide upgrades like starting health, damage and speed which is helpful too and allows you to reach those higher levels over time without cutting you off too early in a run in the first few hours either. It’s also worth noting that luck does a role in how much help the game gives you. With every mini-boss and boss you’ll get a roulette wheel of upgrades and its split in half. One will pick the type of upgrade, the other will determine how many you get. Sometimes you can luck out with a 3x several times in a row which boosts your character greatly, other times you’ll get loads of 1x upgrades. It is the luck of the draw but doesn’t feel mean spirited like say Gran Turismo 7’s daily lottery ticket.
I was really impressed with Goobies. I love the bubble pop sound effects of hundreds of gooey blobs exploding. I love the approachable, almost cute nature of this auto-shooter and the focus on area of effect damage over shooting gives it a unique edge compared to others. Well worth dipping into if you enjoyed Brotato and Vampire Survivors and are looking for something similar…but gooier.
A decent auto-shooter that wears its cute charm on one sleeve and exploding chaos and frantic action on the other.
Weapon loadouts and character upgrades allow you to shape really different characters for each run.
The focus on area of effect upgrades makes Goobies stand out in a crowded copy-cat genre.
Hundreds of things going on at once and it looks impressive and feels frantic.
Plenty of replayability.
You can turn off auto-shoot and have it as a twin stick shooter if you want to.
Game slows to a crawl because so much is going on rather than having a natural end to a run, which feels odd.
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