Before starting this review I feel morally advised to inform you of possible side effects from playing the following game. If you develop symptoms of lack of spacial awareness, mood swings, dizziness, headaches and/or acute mindfuck then stop playing immediately and take a nap to allow your brain to cool off and prevent vegetation. Or – as you will likely be addicted by this point – man up and continue playing until you reach that joyous “Fin” at which point you may develop sensations of ecstasy. You have been warned.
And with those formalities out of the way: ‘And Yet It Moves’ is one of the brilliant games from that Humble Indie Bundle we’ve been raving about (check out the news bulletin here). It aligns itself in the ever expanding genre of ‘Puzzle-Platforming’, recently brought to light by the physics based ‘Portal’ series and the time shifting ‘Braid’, where developers are forever scratching their heads to come up with innovative ways in which to confuse the hapless gamer. And Yet It Moves certainly succeeds on this front. You may have felt that your regular 2D platformers were hard enough, having to jump and run through a digital obstacle course to reach a target. Now imagine a game where you had to run, jump and twist gravity all at the same time through a digital obstacle course while also ensuring that the obstacles themselves do not decide to mash your head in with this new found orientation. Whimper.
And I’ve not even started on velocity. As we all know, what goes up, must come down, face goes splat. If you think you can save your precious visage from this gruesome fate by simply rotating gravity round the other way then you are going to look very disappointed (well… at least as disappointed as somebody with an exceptionally flat face can look). That’s because like Portal, this game maintains velocity. Only difference is that this time it kills you. Many times in fact. And did I mention the puzzles?! I’ll let you discover most of them for yourselves but just to point out: bats are very difficult to control with gravity.
Yes, gravity – something we tend to take for granted when it only pulls you down. This game will teach you that it is not something to be trifled with.You will learn to tame it and use it wisely to navigate your hero through the level, past hungry lizards and bottomless pits, and over… an evil guinea pig with horns? This game has it all! And it is certainly not lacking in the presentation department either…
As is the definition of indie developers, they tend not to have oodles of cash to pour into the brilliant but costly visuals that bigger studios employ. Have you ever seen Minecraft? Great game but ugly as sin. And although gameplay is what, funnily enough, makes a game it’s always nice to have it easy on the bloodshot eyes. How do indie developers get around this issue? By being all artsy-fartsy about it. Difficult to argue that Picasso had some great rendering software after all… While many indie games fall foul of putting far too much time into presentation rather than what really matters And Yet It Moves has managed to pull a fast one and nail both areas. Until this game I never quite understood the inner beauty and inspirational qualities of crumpled paper. It certainly has some charm here as your papery protagonist works his way through the creased caves and frayed forests. The sound isn’t half bad either nicely accompanying the environment you find yourself in as platforms appear and disappear to a jazzy rhythm.
It’s difficult to find many flaws in this game. Controls can be frustrating at times but not due to an oversight of the programmer rather the struggle of mastering clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation. Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. The difficulty is reasonably high at times with quick reactions required for certain maneuvers but thankfully this is compensated by the abundance of checkpoints. If I have one qualm it would be that I would have wanted to see more of this fantastic game! It’s rather short and despite the challenging level design there aren’t enough to make it last more than a couple of hours max. The developers did add in an interesting ‘speedrun’ feature very similar to the sorts found in racing games wherein the user can save a ‘ghost’ of them completing the level and upload it to the global highscores for others to compete against. However since the vast majority of us will be unable to compete against a select few ‘hardcore’ speedrunners it does not really add to the life of the game.
But do not let that stop you! The game is definitely worth a play just to experience the thrill of utter confusion at its unique gameplay and style. So why not download it here with the rest of the Humble Indie Bundle (pay what you want but get a move on as you only have 11 more days) and face the sheer gravity of this game!
DISCLAIMER: Mottram and May Gaming hold no liability for any of the aforementioned side effects. Nor do we have to mop up cerebral meltdown. Player discretion is advised. Now go confuse yourself.