According to the Wii Shop Channel, “Physics-based Platformer” has spun off and become its own genre, since that is how the creative “And Yet It Moves” from Vienna-based indie developer Broken Rules has officially been categorized. “Physics-based platformer” is a phrase that’s used to describe more and more nowadays, since it seems you need to offer something more than just a simple “platfomer” to interest potential consumers nowadays, and that’s something “AYIM” does very well. Blending elements of time, gravity and momentum control this little WiiWare title pulls no punches when it comes to creating a great game, even in its developers first outing.
Set in a world made up of torn paper, “And Yet It Moves”’ nameless protagonist is tasked with navigating the twisting maze of levels by hurling himself through the air and making the world conform to the path that he wants to take. Since there is no apparent story presented in the game, the title relies heavily on its unique gameplay mechanics; the character only possesses the capabilities to run and jump, but the player is allowed to stop time, and rotate and spin the world by tilting the Wii controller. The title was originally released in 2009 as an independent PC title that evolved from a project by a group of students at the University of Technology in Vienna, but this release comes with additional content, and a significantly tweaked control scheme.
Throughout the first of three chapters of “And Yet It Moves” it seems like the game really only has on thing going for it, the rotating mechanic that allows the character to spin the level around. While that is essentially true, by the end of the game that concept turns out to be significantly more than just a one trick pony. Broken Rules have implemented numerous ideas around that core concept that it creates enough mind-bending puzzles that, by the end of the game, your brain will feel like it had a healthy workout.
Since the PC release last year, the controls have been completely redesigned to take advantage of the Wii’s motion sensing capabilities, creating one of the most tailored experiences on the console. Prior to the WiiWare release players could only rotate the world 90 or 180 degrees each spin, but the Wii controller now offers up the full range of 360 degrees allowing for more precisely controlled gameplay. If there are any doubts about how much better the Wii’s controls are, the original “retro” rotation settings are included as an unlockable cheat, should you dare to compare.
“And Yet It Moves” packs in a bunch of extras for your $10. While the campaign may be on the shorter side (see below) the game offers a copious amount of replay value, as long as you don’t mind working through the same handful levels a couple different ways. The time trail and survival modes seem almost obligatory, but when introduced alongside achievements and a short list of unlockable cheats “AYIM” guarantees quite a bit of playtime. It also has the best credit sequence this side of “Katamari.”
The game’s main campaign can be completed in a little over two hours, and is well worth the initial buy in, but it felt like there was still something missing. While there is a ton of additional content, it seemed like the new ideas that were introduced later in the game could have been stretched out to prolong the experience a bit. The game’s pacing is near perfect, but a couple of additional levels to pad the playtime could have been dropped in without really hindering the overall experience, or making it feel forced.
“And Yet It Moves” is a thinking man’s game, and like many other thinking man’s games there is more of an emphasis more on how you solve the problem than how quickly you solve it. While there is a time trial mode included which is unlocked after you beat a level, you play through the campaign with infinite lives and hit a save point either before you attempt any kind of puzzle or potentially dangerous activity. It doesn’t drastically take away from the experience; the unhurried nature of the game does make completing a level feel a little less urgent.
Creating a great game in your first attempt is no small feat, and Broken Rules should be recognized for both their creativity and compelling gameplay that they have presented with “And Yet It Moves.” While the core concept of rotating levels may have originated elsewhere (go look up “Cameltry” and “Time Pilot” for starters), the amount of new concepts that are layered upon that basic principal are astounding. That, mixed with the Wii specific controls, coalesces to create one of the best WiiWare games ever, and puts “And Yet It Moves” in the running to be one of the best Wii titles of 2010.