Review: And Yet It Moves

A 2D indie platformer that lets you flip the game world upside down so you can better run away from a hamster photograph.

Developer: Broken Rules
Publisher: Broken Rules
Release date: April 2, 2009
Reviewed on: PC

Two Dimensional (Just Like That Kid You Know)

I’m sure that many a gaming enthusiast would remember playing Commander Keen, the original Duke Nukem games, Flashback, Blackthorne, and the Abe’s Odyssey games.

Sadly, the PC 2D platformer genre was left in the nineties along with VCRs, techno music, and bad fashion sense. It briefly reemerged with 2002’s Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project (a classical if there ever was one) but that didn’t help to change the genre’s status quo.

With online distribution systems like Steam making bypassing the tedious business of an official publisher all that much easier, a few indie developers decided to try their chances with the genre. And Yet It Moves is one of these tries. For better or worse.

Paper Man’s Bad Trip

This game descended from the snowy Alps of the country that brought us Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pez candy, and Apfelstrudel. Developed by a team of four, And Yet It Moves started as a game design project at the Vienna University of Technology.

But historical details aside, it’s a two-dimensional platformer where you control a paper cut-out character whose only goal is to get from point A to point B. There are no enemies per se, no power-ups, no weapons, no plot. You just run (and, occasionally, jump) from where you’re at to where you’re supposed to be.

What stops it from being infinitely boring is that the game’s main gameplay element relies on the fact that apart from controlling your Paper Man you also control the world around you. The Up, Down, Left, and Right keys rotate the game world 90 degrees in the direction you specify. This effectively allows you to run on walls, ceilings, and so on.

I bet the professors at the Vienna University of Technology were very impressed.

Apart from making you time your jumps and world rotations to get through the levels, the game also features the occasional puzzle. The majority of these involve rotating the world in such a way so as make object X fall on object Y. Most of these are nothing special, but there is one notable moment where Paper Man gets chased by a giant horned hamster. In fact, that’s probably the most fun I’ve had in my entire playthrough.

High scores for fast level completions can be posted on the internet as proof of your masterstroke techniques and the game throws a Steam achievement at you time to time to keep the masterstrokers happy.

A View From The Side

All the backgrounds are stylized as paper and cardboard decorations colored in a hallucinogenic palette. The main character is a paper cut-out with crazy hair and moving parts attached at the joints, and the local fauna is animated photographs. But credit where credit is due, it all comes together, working well with the gameplay that And Yet It Moves has to offer.

Sound and music, however minimalistic, are on par with the visuals.

And yet, even though everything in this game seems to fit, everything seems to be fine, the game being definitely what one may call a success I kept looking for distractions – other video games, slaying imaginary ninjas, eating real beef jerky, anything – to find an excuse to do something other than having to sit down and continue on with Paper Man’s linear adventures for the sake of an honest review.

But more on that later.

The Rocky Grave of Paper

Even before I got to midgame, I realized that And Yet It Moves shared a lot of common ground with the beforementioned Apfelstrudel. Looks delicious, rather popular, but sometimes you just have to force yourself through it out of a misplaced sense of civic duty.

I completely support the notion that you do not need great special effects and multimillion-dollar budgets to make entertaining video games, but with this in mind, all gamers (just like real people) are different. What one may like, the other may hate.

Perhaps why the game failed to hold my attention is that I found it to be ultimately pointless.

There is no plot, there is no reason why I should lead Paper Man from a level’s beginning to a level end, and there is no flamethrower in sight. And in a game about paper, the absence of a flamethrower is, for me, a major no-no.

To sum it up, And Yet It Moves is technically sound. It’s even entertaining if you can force yourself to continue playing it. But personally, I found it to be a BLOODY BORE.

My advice is to consider getting the game if you’re into the indie game scene or are looking for something different (not to be confused with better) than your run-of-the-mill platformer for a generous price. But, if you’re like me, and play computer games either for the story or to simply kick ass and blow shit the fuck up, you’ll probably want give this one a pass.


My Rating: 2.5/5 Penguins

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