Review by dimitry_clover
Great style, challenging levels, tough controls
And Yet It Moves is a puzzle-platformer. Being a budget independent game, it does not really have a lot of content to offer. But whatever it delivers, it delivers with style.
Graphics [10/10]: Most people first notice from this game is that all the graphics of this game consists of torn paper, including your character. Rocks, trees, even animals are (usually amusingly) made of ripped pictures and posters of, well, rock, trees and animals. All these creates an eerily surreal tone to the game. It's like something you see from some arthouse film or artsy commercials. And by the end of the game, it resembles more and more of a bad (or really really good) acid trip. Although it looks confusing in the screenshot, the graphics is surprisingly effective since the whitened torn edges clearly defines your path. The artistic style of this game really makes this a unique experience, when combined with...
Music (and Sound) [10(6)/10]: The music, as in many indie games, are very well done and effective. Granted you won't hear a lot of it in the earlier levels, but a few disjointed notes here and there sets the perfect ambient for the game. The music really starts to pick up when you first come across a certain disappearing-platform puzzle. The platform rises in and out of the screen like a Hi-Fi equalizer, the experience itself is almost psychedelic.
The sound effect however, does not have a lot to offer. Besides a few useful sound-cue (like the sound that tells you something fell out of a void), there really is not a lot of variety. The most aggravating of all is the sound you make when you die. I think it's supposed to be paper being torn, but it sounds like a disgusting voice made with someone's mouth. And you will hear it many, many, many times due to...
Gameplay [7/10]: It is a platformer, so you will die a lot (we will get to that later). An interesting element (I'm not sure if it's unique) is the ability to rotate your entire world. This makes the game plays like an old tilt-board puzzle (in fact, several puzzles actually resembles it). The developer claims that this is a puzzle-platformer, and to their credits there are quite a few interesting ones (usually involving animals), and there is a nice variety of them. However near the end of the game, the puzzle sequences tends to require more on lightning reflexes and less on pre-planning. This, and the overall gameplay, suffers heavily from...
Controls [4/10]: The controls can make or break a platformer. In this game it biases heavily on the breaking side. While the most lauded feature, the world-rotation, works pretty well, the basic controls are very frustrating. First of all, there is no aerial control whatsoever. This means that if you messed up a jump, it's almost impossible to reposition your landing spot in mid-air. Surprisingly, you cannot salvage such jumps using by world-rotation. That's because when you rotate the world, you still maintain your previous movement vector. This is hard to explain since it is unintuitive in the first place. One puzzle that requires you jump *backwards* before rotation is a testament of that.
And it is very, VERY easy to die in this game. Your character can't survive a fall of more than 20 feet. However the game explains that it is the *speed* when you touch the ground that determines if you survive the fall. Many puzzles involves jumping and then rotating the screen, but since the momentum is not compensated by the rotation (meaning that you *always* drop faster, no matter how you rotate the world), often you would find that you die from touching a wall 2 feet away from you, just because you spent too much time in mid-air. And the game gives no useful indication of your present speed.
This is made even more complicated by the fixed camera angle. The camera zoom is fixed at any given location, and you do not have the option to change it or pan it to other place. It is very hard to judge your jump when wherever you go, you have to deal with a different zoom level. The fixed camera also make it hard to look and the "big picture" of a puzzle. Often you can only solve a certain puzzle by a lot of trial-and-error, since you can only see a small portion of it at any given time.
Another bane of the basic control is your tendency to slip when you land. It is extremely annoying toward the end of the game, when certain parts of disappearing-platform puzzles require extreme precision of your landing. This is made worse by the aforementioned fact that you cannot reposition mid-air. This makes the later levels excruciatingly frustrating.
Overall [7/10]: It is a budget indie game. And I would recommend it solely for the visuals and music alone. There are some flaws in the control, but (barely) not game-breaking. If you like challenging platformers from the good old days, I would suggest you give this a try. At less than $1 a level, it is certainly worth the pricetag.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: And Yet It Moves (US, 04/02/09)
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