This is a critique of the game “ And Yet It Moves! ”.And Yet It Moves!
was conceived as a game concept for a computer science course, held by the Department for Design and Assessment of Technology at the Vienna University of Technology. The prototype for And Yet It Moves was a 2007 Independent Games Festival Student Showcase Winner and a 2007 EUROPRIX Top Talent Award Nominee.
Although And Yet It Moves is a 2D game, it is not an ordinary one. The whole platform is a world made of torn, crumpled papers that are put together to make a collage. The experience is unique since the world revolves around you, literally, the fact is that there is no right side up and if you are like me and when you saw Tomb Raider you thought that the Cradle of Life must be really cool to navigate, then you will have a lot of fun navigating in this collage world. The wall that you see ahead of you can be the surface for you to walk on, and with just rotating the world 90 degrees the narrow tunnel becomes the slide that can take you to the next room.
For many games you are given a map of either all your surroundings or a fraction of it. In some cases like World of Warcraft you are given both, one that is visible to you at all times which covers only part of the world and one that is one click away which is the map of the whole world. However, in the world of And Yet It Moves, there are no maps but there are checkpoints. On each checkpoint there is a holograph of you pointing to the direction of the next checkpoint. These checkpoints are placed so generously that it makes it impossible to get lost. Which might be a good thing if you are in a hurry to finish the game — which usually is not the case — but if you are in it to have fun you want to get lost and explore a bit specially at the beginning that you are not facing any puzzles or major obstacles. In some cases the holographic guide seams unnecessary because there is no other way or in cases such as the swings, it really doesn’t matter which way you swing. Either you swing to the right or left you’re going to end up in the same place and there is no right way, they are both right, which was a bit disappointing for me and I felt like I was not being challenged enough.
There is no specific storyline and the game is just a cool puzzle and I believe they managed to send that message through the design of the character. The character is a hip looking guy that somehow reminds me of Fido Dido. In fact, I can’t help it notice the resemblances. Firstly, how Fido Dido was created on a piece of napkin and our character seems to have been created on a white piece of paper then was cut out to go and explore and at the end of every level he jumps back into a piece of paper. Secondly, our character has the same nonchalant attitude. When you leave him alone for even a few seconds he starts fixing his hair and blowing his noes into a tissue.
In my opinion, the game seems like a regular puzzle game, but it’s not quite like puzzle games such as The Story of Dragons, Tetris, Bejeweled, and games like that you have to organize colours, shapes, letters, etc. nor is it like story line base puzzle games like Mystery Case File, Haunted Manor, and many more games by Big Fish Games that you have a story and you have to go through the whole story and find different clues and occasionally solve the puzzle of the broken circuit board or complete a jigsaw puzzle. In face, it feels like a new kind of puzzle game.
I believe the reason why this game feels so familiar is that it’s our old Ball-in-Maze game but computerized and it has a new cool interface that is both mysterious and funky. For the first few levels you don’t face any obstacles, you can just rotate around and jump over the few loose rocks and try to avoid them, then again it’s sometimes fun to get crushed by them because the worst that can happen in this game is to shatter into ten pieces and be put together again and placed at the last checkpoint but since there is no health count, life system, or energy reload, there is no worries. Then on level four you face puzzles with in the puzzle game of And Yet It Moves. You find yourself in a situation that you have to direct things like bananas, bats, or hamsters by rotating the world to open your way out. I personally think that it’s a good challenge because I was getting a bit bored with the game and was expecting new elements to be added. As an example, on level four you find yourself in a narrow passage that is blocked by a giant lizard and as soon as you get close to it, it sticks its tongue out and kills you with it. But with the first rotation you notice the flock of bats and you have to herd them to the lizard to scare him off and a bit further into the passage you are faced with another lizard and you have to get those bats to scare this one off as well.
In the staring levels there are notes around telling you what to do. It’s nice to get directions to the game but some of them are just questioning the gamers’ intelligence. For example, it’s not much of a help to tell me about the black pits when I have encountered them quite a few times before and have fallen into them and died. Whereas for the rest of the elements such as the lizard and the bats there are no directions. Which on it’s own is a good thing, but when you look at the whole thing, it’s like having training wheels on a kid’s bike then telling him that they have to ride a unicycle.
One more thing that can be annoying sometimes is the inability to control zooming. While playing, I found myself in need of either zooming in or out for better view but since it is not an option it made me frustrated. To be fair, the zooming that it does seems sufficient, however not having the control on zooning when most of the games give you that option creates an uncomfortable experience.
In the beginning that the environment is new and not discovered rotating around seems good enough, sound effects for rotating, getting to the holograph, getting shattered, etc. but after a while I started to feel the absence of interactivity. I realized that there, in fact, is no special interactivity. Sure the environment slightly changes and you face a swing or two and a monkey in a level but that’s about it. After the fifth level I really felt the absence of some sort of interaction and it started to feel really lonely and annoying. There is no change in the few sound effects or the theme sound. It feels as if I’m trapped in a world that rotates.
All in all, I believe it’s a good game to play on a lazy afternoon or when too tired to do anything else. It challenges the sense of judgment. In addition, since there is no Game Over, in that sense it’s a laid back and fun game.