It’s a rare treat when you discover a fantastic indie game that you would have otherwise overlooked. And Yet It Moves is a new puzzle platformer with huge promise for its developer, Broken Rules. What began as a student project (typically 1-2 levels), now includes a complex and dizzying adventure from the Austrian company, comprised of Computer Science Students. Where indie titles were once overlooked, they’re now finding a market with downloadable franchise’s like Steam, where the game’s PC version can be found. “What is it?” Here we take a look at the independent title that has won several indie gaming awards, And Yet It Moves.
There’s no story here but to be honest, it’s really not important. The object is simple, move your character through the world by any means possible. This can be done using the game’s simple control scheme. Like most side-scrolling platformer’s, players use a simple run and jump mechanic to clear obstacles. Yet the game does not rely upon this, instead offering something other platformer’s cannot. Players can literally turn the game on its ear by flipping the world 90 degrees at a time in either direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise. This forces players to remain oriented as they attempt to work with in-game physics. Players can use jumps with these flips so that they can easily careen around sharp objects or over large crevasses. As you fall, your speed increases, and landing on a harsh or spiked surface results in your paper character crumbling into multiple pieces.
Players can flip the world 90 degrees at a time
The game relies heavily on trial and error through the clever use of checkpoints. These checkpoints also help point you in the right direction, but since the entire world works like a maze, it can be difficult to see if you are indeed going in the right direction at times. The game’s camera remains solely on you, as it should, but in some cases it feels too tight. I would have liked that the game retain the same distance to the player character at all times, though I understand that with level design comes the chance in a game like this to ‘give-away’ or ‘spoil’ a part of the level. Still, I feel some of the tight cameras were a little too tight and in a game like this it can make one claustrophobic.
Simple puzzles also make use of the game’s ability to flip around. In some levels, there will be a creature that needs to be removed or subdued in order to continue. By turning the world in the correct directions, you can manipulate creatures and objects through a maze like space, such as bats that can dispel lizards and bananas that can quell chimps. In other cases, turning the world in various directions requires slightly more precise handling, like manipulating water droplets to remove a blocked route. Luckily, the game makes this easier by not applying the same game physics seen in your paper character to things like dripping water so that they will turn precisely with the world, preventing you from becoming frustrated with tricky puzzles.
Simple puzzles also make use of the game’s ability to flip around
Once you’ve played a level from beginning to end, you can then turn around and replay it in competition mode. Here, players are timed to see how fast they can make their way through each level and the times are uploaded online. It is through this mode that the player character changes into a ‘Ghost’. Players are able to download and run alongside other ghost’s to see how they measure up.
Players may find themselves quickly losing their sense of direction but it’s remarkably amazing how easy it is to get accustom to the idea of flipping the world in different directions. As someone who is easily nauseated at certain camera movements, I found the game’s tilt, even when quickly flipping the world several times, did not, thankfully, give me an upset stomach and the Dramamine remained safely in the medicine cabinet.
I would have liked a little more documentation in-game. When I reached areas containing sub-puzzles, most notably manipulating the bats to remove a deadly lizard, I found it took much longer than I would have hoped to figure out the bat’s initial purpose. It wasn’t until I had accidently turned the world just right so that two bats were circling the lizard and making it suddenly jiggle as if it was being loosened, that I caught on. The same could be said for the water droplets. Once I caught on, things were fine until I reached the first ‘trampoline’. While we were only able to obtain a review copy of the game, I do hope the developers take a little time to add in some quick explanations.
Graphics and Sound
The game makes use of a ripped-paper environment giving it a 2D feel to it. Layering the world and animating certain objects give the game a fantastic textured environment. The paper theme continues with your character, which appears to be torn from a square piece of paper that you attempt to make whole upon completion of the level. While the character itself isn’t exactly gorgeous, the animated hair and cracking into pieces against the distinctly styled background well makes up for it. Even the ripped paper with wrinkled textures for the menu against the corrugated cardboard background help complete and continue the game’s paper collage theme.
The ripped-paper gives a 2D feel with fantastic texture.
From whistling wind, to the eerie tones, the sound effects really make this game into a fantastic and appealing title. Music, if it can even be called that, slowly works on the game’s mysterious tone by layering a series of repetitive and what appear to be human sounds such as that noise you hear when popping your hand against a hollow cheek or slapping a beat against your thigh. While remaining dark and almost foreboding to match the game’s graphical content, the background sound remains subtle and memorable. I could not imagine this game having any other audio attached and if there was, it would be extremely out of place.
And Yet It Moves retails on Steam and other downloading services (Greenhouse for Mac users) for 15 dollars. The replay value will depend on the type of gamer you are as it does offer you the ability to return for a competition mode. Achievement fans will find that there are a lot of very challenging achievements to collect here as well. If these don’t appeal to you, the game almost has this need to return to this stunning world the developer’s have created.
And Yet It Moves is one of those unique titles that only come around once in a while. The 15 dollar price tag may deter a few but competition modes, achievements and a stunning audio-visual experience make the title well worth the price. If nothing else, you’ll be getting a unique and dizzying adventure through this not-so common puzzle platformer.
Release date : 2009-04-02
Publisher : 03 Entertainment
Developer : 03 Entertainment
Gameplay : Platformer
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