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And Yet It Moves

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By Leigh Cobb07-08-2012
Blankdoor (editor)
Trav (editor)
And Yet It Moves

The Defence

Developer:
Broken Rules
Publisher:
Broken Rules
Genre:
Platformer, Indie
Release Date:
US 23-08-2010
EU 27-08-2010

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Single Core 2.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia 128 MB Card
AMD equivalent
RAM:
512 MB
HDD:
60 MB
DirectX:

The Case

 

And Yet It Moves is a game with a premise you’ve probably heard a million times before, especially if you are remotely into indie games. A 2D platformer making good use of physics, while having a gameplay twist up its sleeve! Despite being superficially like lots of other indie platformers, AYIM does however have what is necessary to be unique. Whereas you can easily scoff at some indie games for resting on this tired gameplay concept, AYIM manages to pull things off quite nicely.

This is even crazier on drugs.

This is even crazier on drugs.

The Trial

 

The crux of this game is the unique rotation ability at the player’s disposal. This turns a simple platformer into a test of wits and, at times, a genuinely hard game. Rather than jumping over gaps, over enemies and to the end of the level, you will instead have to rotate the world itself in order to proceed. Each rotation is done at 90 degree intervals; you can handily assign two buttons to rotate left or right and another button to rotate upside down to save on time.

Things start simple, such as a large hill which is too big to jump over. You then just have to rotate the screen, your character will fall and land on whatever piece of environment is at the bottom of the screen. This however, soon ramps up. You’ll end up having to make lightning fast rotations and jumps to get through an area, impeded still by the way that your character keep any previous momentum, even if the direction he is falling in changes. The result of this is that you can’t simply rotate a few times and skip sections of the level, as the impact will kill you when you hit the ground.

Puzzles can get pretty complex.

Puzzles can get pretty complex.

So with this gameplay mechanic in place, AYIM truly does exploit this to its fullest. At a satisfying pace, you will go through levels that ramp up in difficulty at just the right moment. It never feels like the game plays all its cards too soon, or that is drags things out too long. This does mean that the game is only three or four hours long, but any longer and you would get bored. In essence, it is perfectly balanced and paced for your entertainment.

This is due, in part, to how distilled the overall experience is. There are no traditional enemies to jump on, no power ups or coins to collect, it is pure platforming with a remarkably simple twist, which makes all the difference in turning AYIM into a unique, fun and highly playable game. You merely have to reach the end of the level, navigating a variety of tunnels, tree branches and other obstacles along the way. This isn’t to say that the game is easy however, you will die a lot. But once your brain adjusts to the rotation mechanic and you wrap your head around how it affects the platforming, you will have a challenging time, but never a frustrating one.

You can also plainly see that the developers put a lot of thinking into the kind of puzzles they could include. Many areas for example feature things like rocks, which react to the physics and your world rotations, just as your character does. So if you want to rotate the world to get to the next ledge, the rock may fall on you at the same time. Later levels also include music and platforms which fade in and out with the beat, requiring you to jump on cue and rotate effectively at the same time. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and rotate at the wrong angle, sending you hurtling off the edge of the levels boundaries, causing you to die.

Sporting a healthy green glow.

Sporting a healthy green glow.

There are ‘enemies’ of a sort, but they are mostly fixed into place and not defeated in the traditional way. In one early instance, you have to rotate the screen in order to move bats into the way of a lizard, which would otherwise kill you. Once you have got enough bats to harass it, you can pass. Sometimes these encounters can seem difficult at first, but regular checkpoints maintain the flow of the game. Speaking of the checkpoints, they also point you in the right direction (quite literally), which is very helpful when you consider the confusing layout and geometry of the world.

AYIM deserves praise for its art style and overall presentation. The game takes real life pictures of things like grass, or tropical leaves and then uses them to texture these things in the game. It gives the experience an odd, cut out sort of feel, but once that succeeds in drawing you in. Combine this with relaxing music and the tranquillity of the levels, and the game gives off quite a trance like state. The fact that you are not on a time limit and there is on rush means that you can go at your own pace, simply enjoying the varied, if a little weird, scenery.

The Verdict

 

At its core, And Yet It Moves is the perfect platformer. It breathes life into a stale genre through a unique and interesting mechanic, then utilises this mechanic to its fullest, never overstaying its welcome. The puzzles ramp in difficulty to a satisfying conclusion, you never feel bored or as if you’ve played something like it before. Broken Rules’ have done an amazing job here, if you’re looking for a great platforming experience, then AYIM is a game to get.

Case Review

  • Good hook: A deceptively simple rotate mechanic turns this game into something unique.
  • Well paced: The pacing is great, you never feel bored and you will be satisfied by the games conclusion.
  • Nice art: The art style is visually appealing, unique and quite weird all at the same time.
  • Checkpoints: Frequent checkpoints keep the game flowing nicely.
  • Short One: It's only a few hours long, though you probably won't mind.
  • Expanded Gameplay: A few more gameplay mechanics would have been appreciated to compliment the rotation device.
5
Score: 5/5
AYIM is the perfect platformer; fun, unique and topped off with a brilliant art style.
Comments (2)
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Posts: 15

Objection! 5/5 is way too high. I liked the game, but this isn't really an indie gem. Opinions, opinions.

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Posts: 37

Only played this game for a steamachievement during the sale, but it was surprisingly fun and weird. Very weird!