By Marty Mulrooney
And Yet It Moves is a single player puzzle platform game developed by indie developer Broken Rules, released on PC in 2009 and WiiWare in 2010. The Wii version adds an updated gameplay rotation mechanic, various control schemes, three extra levels and a slew of bonus modes, and is priced at 1,000 Wii Points.
Plot and story are entirely absent in And Yet It Moves. Players are instead immediately thrust into a world of cut-out landscapes, themselves a torn-edged paper man, encouraged to traverse precarious labyrinths until they reach the nearest exit with little incentive other than the sheer brilliance of the unique and bizarre gameplay.
The gameplay itself is of course superb and serves to bring the entire experience to a strange, rhythmic life. Players must not only move their little paper man, but the entire world. On PC, this was done using 90 degree intervals (an unlockable extra on Wii) yet in this new port, players have complete 360 degree control over their environment, making the ceiling become the floor, a tree trunk become a vertical platform, ad infinitum. The result can often be mind boggling, with small jumps between outcrops and ledges becoming increasingly tense as your momentum builds. Hit a surface too hard and bang… your fragile little paper man tears into a thousand tiny pieces.
Checkpoints – outlines of a man who looks strangely familiar – are sprinkled liberally throughout and this really helps you to enjoy the constantly flipping world without worrying too much about the consequences of a screw-up. These checkpoints also serve to point players in the right direction if things get a little disorientating.
The game allows a range of control schemes, including the WiiMote turned on its side, the Classic Controller, or my personal favourite, the WiiMote/Nunchuk combo, which allows a greater sense of control as you hold the A button and turn the controller like a key to rotate the world. Ultimately, there should be a control scheme to suit everyone.
The game also does a good job of keeping things simple, even as the entire world is pinwheeling around you. Whilst holding A to rotate, everything freezes and little lines emanating from your little paper man show you the direction of his momentum. Physics play a key role here too, with boulders crashing all around the levels and makeshift swings swaying violently. Players can even shepherd bats around one particular level (they always fly up towards the current ceiling), reverse the direction of a rock thrown by a monkey or set fire to a troublesome beehive. You also have to swap both yourself and your shadow to opposite ends of a room several times at the end of a level, which I found to be some of the most difficult and testing parts of the game.
Later levels spice things up nicely, with the A button no longer guaranteed to freeze the entire world. There is always an extra challenge when trying to land on a series of platforms that disappear/reappear to a musical beat, or when rotating the world and discovering that the ledges around you are rotating too. The music is minimalistic, much like the graphics, but both serve to create a unique experience that, much like the gameplay itself, is refreshing and unusual even for an indie production.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed And Yet It Moves for the 6 hours it took to complete the basic ‘Journey’ mode. Playing though the ‘Time Trials’ or ‘Limited Rotation’ modes would of course add futher playtime to this and the extra levels for the WiiWare version offer a nice epilogue to the main journey. Strangely, I often pined for some sort of storyline even though this is essentially a puzzle game (World Of Goo seemed to strike a nice balance) as the universe itself seemed so fresh and unique. In many ways this lack of storyline – and its brevity – are my only real complaints.
As odd as it sounds, I ended up truly caring about my little paper man. The levels are great fun but do reuse assets and can therefore become a tad repetitive… but it ends up not really mattering in the end. And Yet It Moves is an indie game that has a unique art style, unique sound design and startlingly unique gameplay. How many mainstream games in 2010 can honestly say that?
8 OUT OF 10