And Yet It Moves

You wreck me, baby -- break me in two. But you move me, honey -- yes you do.

This is the story all 'bout how
my life got flipped -- turned upside down.
-- The Fresh Prince

WASD: This is how computer gamers know how to navigate virtual spaces. Sometimes I feel like we're wasting those arrow keys across the keyboard.

Newly formed Vienna-based development house Broken Rules just released And Yet It Moves on Steam, and it's a platformer that soothes my conscience. As usual, A and D move left and right, and W jumps. The left and right arrow keys, however, rotate the screen.

"Now we're getting somewhere," I thought. I tipped the landscape so that I could quickly fall to the next sketchy-man checkpoint. Except I ended up falling past him and smashing into pieces, making a crunchy noise that sounded like a very harsh whisper of "Sartre."

I'm getting better at platform games, but I struggled through the demo levels of And Yet It Moves. Your momentum continues after rotating the screen, which can lead to jumping in place and landing with enough velocity to kill yourself.

Visually, And Yet It Moves is fairly novel. It's not another "minimalist" or "lush" aesthetic, and any connection to viscera would be tenuous at best. I would call it "full," though -- and maybe even "rich," were that not such a cliche. The landscape looks as if it were built from layering ripped pieces of glossy magazine textures, and the character is sketched on bits of white. Some of the background will sway in the wind or fall with gravity in a way that's reminiscent of Little Big Planet.

Why You Should Check This Out: And Yet It Moves is a challenging platformer that's sure to keep you busy. It features a unique mechanic and an aesthetic that leaves you with a palpable sense of the game's crunchy texture. Or perhaps that's just all the dying I did.

[size=20]Demo[/size] (PC or Mac)
[size=18] (Steam)[/size]
[size=18] (Greenhouse)[/size]

Boom, shake-shake-shake the room.

Comments

Huh. Looks interesting... and crunchy indeed.

Wow, the full version of this is finally out? I remember the demo was pretty cool, I liked the puzzle where you had to tilt the world to make fire go up hill.

Did anyone else download the Mac demo and just get a black screen after inputting your name?

Wasn't a huge fan of this one. It was a cool enough concept, but the art style did nothing for me and the momentum puzzles actually got a bit repetitive by the time I finished the demo. I think I'll pass.

Aparently posting is also a momentum puzzle, and I failed.

I particularly like the style of this game, especially the second level of the demo.

Although I won't be buying this game, I can recommend it for people who love indie games as well as puzzle plat-formers.

The character's movements felt a bit sluggish, and I was constantly getting my left and right arrows mixed up, so I found some of the puzzle solving to not be difficult so much as tedious. I found the demo for this to be interesting enough, but I don't know that it's $15 worth of interesting.

Minarchist wrote:

Did anyone else download the Mac demo and just get a black screen after inputting your name?

I went through Steam on my PC. I'll see if I can find a Mac user to check it out.

Mr.Root wrote:

I particularly like the style of this game, especially the second level of the demo.

Although I won't be buying this game, I can recommend it for people who love indie games as well as puzzle plat-formers.

adam.greenbrier wrote:

The character's movements felt a bit sluggish, and I was constantly getting my left and right arrows mixed up, so I found some of the puzzle solving to not be difficult so much as tedious. I found the demo for this to be interesting enough, but I don't know that it's $15 worth of interesting.

I won't blame you if it's not your thing. I'll likely pick it up if it goes on a nice Valve weekend sale, but I was mostly interested in the aesthetic and mechanical concepts.

wordsmythe wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Did anyone else download the Mac demo and just get a black screen after inputting your name?

I went through Steam on my PC. I'll see if I can find a Mac user to check it out.

I have a Mac. Give me a couple minutes, and I'll look into it.

Edit: I didn't have any problems getting it to run in OS 10.5.6. I was able to play it in both windowed and fullscreen mode at a variety of resolutions.

I played the demo and I found I had the same issue where I was constantly mixing up my rotations. I found the mechanic to be interesting, but I kind of wish there was some way that I could change my momentum up and down because if I made the wrong rotation in some cases I would just build up too much momentum from that and die. Overall I still found it to be pretty interesting, but for now I think I've had my fill from the demo.

For those finding the default rotation scheme to be counter-intuitive (like me), you can swap the L/R arrow key mapping in the options screen. The demo became much less frustrating after I changed it. Still, don't know if it was enjoyable enough to warrant my $15. Or $12 even, in light of the 20% discounted DRM-free version that apparently will be available direct from the site.

Teeldarb wrote:

For those finding the default rotation scheme to be counter-intuitive (like me), you can swap the L/R arrow key mapping in the options screen. The demo became much less frustrating after I changed it. Still, don't know if it was enjoyable enough to warrant my $15. Or $12 even, in light of the 20% discounted DRM-free version that apparently will be available direct from the site.

All sorts of interesting information there. Thanks, Teeldarb!

WASD: This is how computer gamers know how to navigate virtual spaces.

ESDF ftw.

This game has all the charm of a modelview matrix. It lacks polish and the rotating world mechanic seems contrived.

Perhaps I could've guessed that from wordsmythe's opening gambit. My arrow keys sure are going to waste! Please tell me more about this exciting product!

On the visuals, I would say "cubist" fits the bill.

Insectecutor wrote:

On the visuals, I would say "cubist" fits the bill.

I have trouble seeing cubism. I could see an assemblage influence, but their contemporaneous popularities doesn't make them the same.

Insectecutor wrote:

This game has all the charm of a modelview matrix. It lacks polish and the rotating world mechanic seems contrived.

I'm curious about this. As far as indie games go, I'd say it's almost exceedingly polished -- to the point that the aesthetics seem contrived to hide it.

I always reassign to the arrow keys with every game I play.. even with WoW... call me what you will :-p btw the demo for this game was pretty good but I'm waiting for a slight price drop though.

The demo was okay but it doesn't seem like there's meat on the game to warrant a purchase. If I was really desperate for a platformer (hah!), I'd simply wait for Braid to come out next week.

Insectecutor wrote:

This game has all the charm of a modelview matrix. It lacks polish and the rotating world mechanic seems contrived.

I'm curious about this. As far as indie games go, I'd say it's almost exceedingly polished -- to the point that the aesthetics seem contrived to hide it.

I found the controls to be clumsy, the world rotation feels overly fast and sharp yet the motion of the character seems too slow and ponderous. The use of human voice for sound effects and cut up photographs for graphics should lend the game an organic quality, but for me they don't sit right. There is a lack of cohesion here, I feel there's a yawning maw smack in the middle of the presentation where the thing that binds the graphics, sound, concept and game mechanic should be. Some of the photos look like holiday snaps. Was this intentional? Even if it was it doesn't stop them looking ass.

I took away a feeling that these things were the way they were because of lack of any alternative rather than a conscious design decision from the start, although I guess there's something in the fact that the player character is drawn on paper but the backdrops are constructed from photographs of the real world.

Ultimately I had no compulsion to play more than the demo because the sound was pissing me off, the graphics looked cheap, and the gameplay seemed slightly unfair and unimaginative. Maybe if I dropped the $12 and played the full thing I would have a different opinion, but unfortunately the demo failed to sell the game to me.

The game looked interesting, but the graphics turned me off looking at screen shots. I'll give it a try though.

I thought it was fun. I also found the arrow keys counter-intuitive for some reason. I kept reminding myself that arrow=direction of gravity and I generally got used to it.

PandaEskimo wrote:

The game looked interesting, but the graphics turned me off looking at screen shots. I'll give it a try though.

Somehow, the graphics are much more palatable in-game. I thought it looked awful in screenshots, but the rocky cavern styled look works for me in-game. I still think the jungle level's textures are distractingly awful, but I guess that's the look they were going for.

This is the kind of game that needs a well-polished demo. Based on my experience with the demo, it's something I'd pick up of it goes on a Steam fire sale, but it's not worth $15 to me. It feels like it's 90% of the way to being genuinely good, but it doesn't come together into a cohesive game for me. A few puzzles using the game's mechanics in more interesting ways would probably sell me on it.

Jumpman was a recent indie faux-retro game that also explores the same concept of rotating levels/gravity. I found it more enjoyable than the demo of And Yet It Moves because of the simplicity of it's presentation, and because I find AYITM's graphical styling and audio to be rather grating.

hungSolo wrote:
WASD: This is how computer gamers know how to navigate virtual spaces.

ESDF ftw.

I prefer EWAR myself. Far less cramped than the inverted T. I don't suggest it for everyone. What I do suggest is resting your hand in a comfortable spot on the keyboard, and then binding the movement to whatever keys your fingers happen to be resting on (which is how I got EWAR).

On a different note, I have a jog wheel that I use for video editing. I just bound the rotation commands to it (it sends keystrokes and is programable) and it's a very cool way to play. Dunno if I'll drop the $ on the full version though.

Vargen wrote:
hungSolo wrote:
WASD: This is how computer gamers know how to navigate virtual spaces.

ESDF ftw.

I prefer EWAR myself. Far less cramped than the inverted T. I don't suggest it for everyone. What I do suggest is resting your hand in a comfortable spot on the keyboard, and then binding the movement to whatever keys your fingers happen to be resting on (which is how I got EWAR).

I have also found WASD to be kind of claw feeling and cramp inducing. I evolved to a proper upright T formation: WERD. E being forward. That way my most used keys are on the same row of keys, since most of the time you are moving forward or strafing. It's also easier to reach the number keys (normally weapons) with the strafe fingers. You also still have a lot of bindable keys for action and other weapons around the home keys (similar to the logic of ESDF over WASD).

I've been doing this since the original Quake and while it's a pain to rebind everything every time I start a new game, it would take me forever to learn WASD. WERD is ingrained.

(And it's a cooler sounding bind WASD has no personality. WERD brings to mind Cameo of the 80s)

Insectecutor wrote:

I found the controls to be clumsy, the world rotation feels overly fast and sharp yet the motion of the character seems too slow and ponderous. The use of human voice for sound effects and cut up photographs for graphics should lend the game an organic quality, but for me they don't sit right. There is a lack of cohesion here, I feel there's a yawning maw smack in the middle of the presentation where the thing that binds the graphics, sound, concept and game mechanic should be. Some of the photos look like holiday snaps.

I mentioned that I was stymied by the controls as well. Don't Look Back is about the height of my platforming abilities, though, so I tend to associate platformer mechanics as involving a double-navigation of imprecise controls and difficult terrain. As far as I'm concerned, that's a genre convention that goes back to Mario.

I thought the photos and their rough edges added a refreshingly novel texture to the levels. They weren't necessarily pretty, but the feel was certainly an appreciated departure from the Atari-esque graphics of many indie platformers. But then, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you might not be right for some.

Shea wrote:

Jumpman was a recent indie faux-retro game that also explores the same concept of rotating levels/gravity. I found it more enjoyable than the demo of And Yet It Moves because of the simplicity of it's presentation, and because I find AYITM's graphical styling and audio to be rather grating.

I considered Jumpman, but we've been hitting the retro aesthetics a little hard lately (and It Moves is more focused on the interesting mechanic[/i]. We've got plenty of backlogged titles for future Fringe Busters, though. I'll add it to the stack.

I had a hard time during the demo, does the game get more frustrating later on?

Now avail for $11.99 (20% off) until May 11 (direct purchase, DRM-free) ...

http://www.andyetitmoves.net/index.php?content=buy&status=requesteddiscount

Bit of a resurrection, but it's now on Impules for $9.99

Arise, thread! Arise!

I guess there's a Wiiware version out now, which utilizes the Wiimote's tilt sensor to tilt the world and also adds a momentum indicator so you can more easily tell which way you'll be moving and how fast when you come out of tilt mode. I saw a Quick Look up on Giant Bomb, which interested me enough to want to check it out. I avoid buying downloadables on the Wii whenever I can, though. (I have a problem with supporting some of Nintendo's policies; very few games have demos, licenses can't be transferred between hardware, etc.)

So I wound up checking out the Steam version, which is down to $10 now. I've been playing it on a controller with tilt mapped to the shoulder buttons, which is working out quite well for me. WASD is fine for first-person games, but platformers are meant to be played on gamepads.

Based on the Quick Look, it looks like the Wii version is a little better, since it gives you more granular control over the gravity changes instead of the 45 degree angle toggles in the PC version. And it's certainly true that once you get the hang of the gimmick, there's not a lot of variety there. Still, for $10 I can't complain too hard. It gives you that pleasant sense of vertigo that all good gravity-screw platformers do, and I definitely feel I've gotten my money's worth in terms of enjoyment.

This is definitely the sort of mechanic I would love to see integrated into a fully-featured 2D platformer-- say, a Mario game-- instead of relegated to a one-trick-pony little indie title.