And Yet It Moves is an engrossing indie game that will delight anyone who’s willing to try something different.
The late noughts represent one of the most prolific periods for independent titles. Platforms like Steam, the Humble Indie Bundles and Xbox Live Arcade were teeming with some really creative and innovative games, including modern classics like Super Meat Boy, Braid, Limbo, Castle Crashers and World of Goo just to name but a few. It was during the indie games’ heyday that And Yet It Moves came out, an inventive platformer with some really compelling mechanics.
On the surface, And Yet It Moves looks and feels like a regular platformer: you move your character around, jump over platforms, solve some puzzles and avoid environmental hazards just so you can reach the end of the level. Thankfully, And Yet It Moves is much more than just that. All the aforementioned indie games have something that makes them stand out from the crowd: in the case of Braid is its heartwarming storytelling, Limbo has a somber atmosphere, Super Meat Boy is an homage to classic platformers and so on. In the case of And Yet It Moves, that unique aspect is that at any point, the player has the ability to rotate the world.
Spinning the world allows you to make long jumps that you wouldn’t be able to perform otherwise, move objects or transform steep walls into walkable surfaces. Additionally, the game encourages you to constantly study your surroundings, for example, falling on the black part of the screen sends you back to your last checkpoint, so does falling from high places or facing foes such as monkeys, lizards, bees, frogs and so on. There are a series of environmental hazards to take into account, such as moving branches, giant boulders, dangerous traps, vicious beasts and fire.
The game will gradually introduce new elements and soon enough, you’ll learn that bamboo sticks allow you to jump higher, that landing on downward slopes is safe or that certain platforms appear to then quickly disappear. At times, you need to make use of the environment to your advantage. For example, you’ll need to give a banana to a monkey without bruising it too badly, place boulders on top of flimsy spider webs to rip them and spin the world so a swarm of bees can scare a hungry lizard. As you progress within a given level, you’ll find checkpoints. Thankfully, not only are these points frequent, but also quite useful since they indicate the direction in which you’re supposed to be heading next.
And Yet It Moves’ minimalist visuals definitely add to the game’s unique style. All the environments are composed of scraps of paper, providing this dissimilar paper collage look. Unfortunately, and even when the game has a distinct paper-craft art style, And Yet It Moves definitely feels like a one-trick pony. The world-shifting mechanic may be an inventive one, but once you have mastered it, there’s not much else to do within the game.
It’s worth mentioning that there are some extra modes, such as speed run, time trial, survival and limited rotation, among some others. In addition, every time you finish a level the game lets you submit your time and ghost to the global online leaderboards, which adds an element of competitiveness to the single-player experience. Sadly, these modes are quite shallow and only exist to make up for the fact that And Yet It Moves is an extremely short game (finishing your first playthrough should take you about three hours) and there isn’t a huge incentive to go back and replay the same stages all over again.
Despite its brevity and even when more levels would have been a great addition, And Yet It Moves is an engrossing indie game that will delight anyone who’s willing to try something different. In the end, even when the game’s shortness detracts from the experience, And Yet It Moves achieves all the goals it sets out to achieve.