And Yet It Moves
WiiWare | Broken Rules | 1 Player | Out Now | 1,000 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk; Wii Remote (sideways); Classic Controller; GameCube Controller
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29th October 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
In this inspired puzzle-platformer, players take control of a fragile specimen of sorts with a body constructed out of paper. In order to get himself through the various challenges that lie ahead, he has the ability to control the orientation of the entire world around him. Taking into account such variables as gravity and physics is vital if you hope to get him to the end of each level in one piece. If you fall to the ground from a large height, or wind up getting sucked into an empty black space of nothingness, you will die and be forced to the last checkpoint. Each death (or "rip", as the game calls it) is tallied and kept track of. For what purpose, you ask? Likely to humiliate you for your lack of caution.
And Yet It Moves (or 'AYIM' for short) boasts four different control schemes. Whether you're using the Wii Remote by itself or with a Nunchuk, or playing the Classic/Gamecube Controller, each scheme offers a different style of gameplay. I personally really enjoyed using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk as it allowed for rotation using pointer control. Holding A or B while pointing at the screen will lock a black circle into place, serving as the central anchor point for the rotation's tilt. Keeping the Wii Remote on its side, you can rotate the world by tilting the actual controller after holding the 1 Button. The Classic Controller is arguably more accessible where rotations are done using the L and R Triggers. While none of the aforementioned control schemes perform significantly worse than others, you'll be able to find one that suits you.
Within this gyrating world exist plenty of levels to keep you occupied. Each of them present their own quirks when it comes to the types of challenges you'll need to contend with, and the way the visuals are presented. Unsteady platforms, trees with jagged edges, giant rocks, and patches of fire are just a few examples of what you should prepare yourself for. The entire game feels like a giant collage, or better yet, an extensive arts and crafts project that comes to life in many ways. Along with this is a great use of texture that helps confirm this impression that much more. In fact, right from the beginning, you'll see notes of paper attached to a part of the stage with a push pin. It's little touches like that that go a long way in infusing players with memorability over the amount of creativity used here.
Another area where the developers have shown themselves to be a creative bunch comes in the form of the kinds of puzzles they present. Quite a few times on your journey, you'll need to cross large distances using a not-so-sturdy swing. And so, it's important to plan your rotations carefully so the swing can carry you across the gap without bouncing all over the place, or coming up too short. At some point in the game, the element of fire will turn up on a semi-regular basis, which can be used to move past blocked pathways. It's at this point that you may find yourself scratching your head a bit more, but when you do figure it all out, you'll wonder why the solution didn't come to you right out of the gate. While a majority of the game is rooted in platforming elements, having the occasional puzzle is great. And in particular, it's these "think-outside-the-box" puzzles that keep the game from becoming too dry too quickly.
In many cases, the presence of this puzzle element is clearly indicated by one or more animals in the surrounding area. They, too, are illustrated as coloured renderings with paper-like outlines and textures. In one instance, you'll have a lizard on your tail, supposedly mistaking you for a tasty snack. You may have the advantage of being able to control the stage to your liking, but if you don't plan accordingly, gravity will follow its course and that feisty lizard's tongue will overtake you. Other puzzles have you interacting with a banana-hungry gorilla, a dangerously-swift snake, territorial bees, and cave-dwelling bats, just to name a few. As you encounter more of these as time goes on, you'll begin to appreciate that the team behind this project has an odd, yet expressive sense of humor. This fact has clearly translated to some of the secondary elements that are seen in each of the levels.
The game is split up into three chapters. The first is fairly straight-forward for the purpose of getting you used to the mechanics of the game. By the time you get to Chapter 2, things get a bit harder and there will be more puzzles for you to solve. Unfortunately, many of these levels felt similar in terms of the overall design elements, which made me feel as though I shouldn't expect major changes of pace. Thankfully, Chapter 3 contains much more interesting levels that include some clever surprises that will require some quick thinking. And in other instances, Broken Rules incorporated a couple features just to make things more interesting. For example, in one level, rain was falling from the sky onto the vegetation. What the developers did was show an abnormal growth process take place with many of the elements in the background. Yes, seeing rocks expand and contract or tree branches flail around like the arms of human are unheard of. But within the contexts of the game, it was nice to see something different from the norm that I had grown accustomed to.
By the end of the last level, I was totally pleased with what I had seen. But the interactive Credit Roll in conjunction with the obligatory "Fin" at the very end solidified just how much love went into making the game. After completing Chapters 1 through 3, an additional "Epilogue" set of levels is opened up, providing even more challenging circumstances for the player to get through. In total, there are 21 stages to plow through, each lasting up to about 10 minutes. It really all depends on how many times you die along the way. Did I feel like the game was over too quickly? No, not really. I mean, your mileage may vary on whether you think the game is "short" or not, but I personally didn't feel like it was.
And Yet It Moves contains 4 modes of play beyond the standard Journey Mode. 'Speed Run' is pretty self-explanatory: basically, try to set a personal best on a given level. You can even do marathons to see how quickly you can beat all of the stages in a chapter one after the other. In 'Time Trial', you have a set time that you're aiming towards, with a clock that counts down as you make your way to each checkpoint. If you don't make it to a checkpoint in time, you'll fail and will have to start over, but if you do, a time extension is awarded so you can stay in the game. 'Survival' confines you to a set number of lives, and in 'Limited Rotations', you're forced to be more strategic as you're not allowed to go past the maximum number of rotations.
For the hard work that you exert, you'll be awarded stamps to showcase your accomplishments. In addition, there are achievements to aim for along the way, both big ones and small ones. One challenge taxes you to achieve every single stamp on every single level. Think you're up to the task? Overall, there's more than enough to keep you occupied long after you've cleared the last level, so long as you remain resolved to beat the game in its entirety.
Much has been said about the visuals, but what about the audio work? In short, if you're expecting a pleasurable soundtrack with tracks that you'll want to listen to over and over again, you'll be disappointed. The music in this game mostly consists of sound effects, background noises, and a significant amount of cricket-welcoming silence. Whether or not you'll enjoy what they've decided to do here is up for debate, but I found myself longing for something stronger. Stepping away from the musical side of things, it should be noted that AYIM does show noteworthy signs of imperfection. Many times, you'll find that the engine chugs along at certain points, evidenced when there's a sudden pause in the transition of gameplay. Other times, it's a matter of glitches that break up the flow and the level of quality that exists. They're simply unavoidable, but they don't detract from the gameplay experience to the point that you'll be frustrated over these kinds of nuances.
And Yet It Moves feels very special in some respects and it's because of such strong components as the unique style that set it apart. And best of all it contains much of what you're probably looking for in a good game: fun gameplay mechanics, great controls, and significant replay value. Some issues with presentation do keep the game exceeding all expectations, but that doesn't mean it's not worth downloading by any stretch. The fact is, it's a successful endeavour on many fronts, and it easily ranks higher than a good chunk of the Wii games out on the market. The developers have done a good job to keep you motivated to overcome seemingly-daunting obstacles, and see the rich reward of an unforgettable experience. And that is, in effect, the true essence of what And Yet It Moves stands for.
25/30 - Very Good
Gameplay 9/10 - Feels special in many ways, solid mechanics (not just a gimmick), great controls, head-scratching puzzles
Presentation 7/10 - Great texture approach and style, not always up to top performance, mild audio presence, could've had a strong soundtrack
Enjoyment 4/5 - Lots of fun to control the world around you, many of the best levels lie at the end, clever puzzles, appearance of animals adds humor
Extra Content 5/5 - Multiple modes to extend the experience, achievements and stamps, great value for $10, superior to many Wii games
Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)