March 31, 2009 6:05 PM | Michael Rose
Other than sounding like the title of one of those godawful poems they forced us to analyze for English lessons back at school (or was that just me?), And Yet It Moves is a superbly entertaining, deeply frustrating platforming puzzler which made me simultaneously amazed at its brilliance, yet want to smash my keyboard into lots of itty bitty pieces. Unfortunately, anger management counselling didn't appear to come included as standard.
The concept isn't anything new, although I'm pretty sure I've never seen it pulled off so spectacularly. The WASD keys control our little papery friend as he traverses locations ranging from underground caverns to swinging treetops. The graphical style is the perfect balance of neat and scruffy - all the surroundings are made to look like they have been taken out of some sort of publication, hence the ripped edges and jagged visuals. Certain levels have textures which aren't 'stuck' and scroll along as our hero dives about. Very bizarre and very cool.
Then, to the main selling point of the game. The direction keys cause the whole world to rotate and stop in four different directions, changing the gravity thus. Cue our guy falling as appropriate while still keeping the momentum from before the spin, leading to some interesting effects. Chasms which appear unjumpable are suddenly simple if you just spin the camera and fall across instead. Floor ended while ceiling continues? You know what to do.
Of course it's very easy sometimes to completely misinterpret just how big that gap really is, so thank heavens for the checkpoints found dotted around each level.
A worry I had before playing was that this concept would become heavily exhausted very quickly - I mean, how many different head-scratchers can be reaped from simply changing the direction of gravity?
To put it bluntly, how very wrong I was to doubt. For around 2 hours, I found myself enthralled as level after level proved that the guys at Broken Rules have more than just a couple of tricks up their sleeves. Some of the ideas are too astounding for words - I honestly felt that there was not a single moment of filler bundled in there. Solutions never felt gimmicky or overused and there's a good slope of difficulty throughout.
But oh wow, does it get frustrating! Some of the later solutions are incredibly fiddly to pull off and I found myself exploding into pieces time and time again as I just couldn't make that precision jump + spin + counter-spin + land combo. I'll tell you what, though - when you finally guide the little guy to safety after a particularly difficult maneuver, man does it feel good!
As well as the progression of the puzzles, the themes and surroundings change too. I don't want to get too specific as not to spoil anything, but suffice to say it gets very... psychedelic. In a beautifully 'whoa' way, of course. The music and sound evolves along the way too, with the very Rugrats-like ba-ba-ba's getting more and more hilarious over time.
For your hard-earned money, you're getting about 2 and a half hours worth of fantastically frustrating gameplay which, quite frankly, is a must play. Then you've got a selection of achievements to unlock which range from completing the game to dying every possible death. Last but not least, there are online leaderboards for speed runs of each level, so you can get your gravity on and prove your worth to the rest of the world. You can even download/upload ghosts to race against.
And Yet It Moves is brilliant fun and innovative as hell. Make it your duty to give this one a go. The full game is available to pre-purchase from Steam for release on April 2nd, or you can grab a copy of the demo now.