Review: And Yet It Moves (WiiWare)

Vertigo has never felt so fun

It seems that the Wii’s unconventional controller and competitively underpowered specifications have made the console quite attractive to smaller PC developers looking to break into the console space. Cave Story jumped from freeware to WiiWare with a fresh coat of paint and new modes and jams, Pearl Harbor benefitted from new controls and Toribash continued its streak of intimidating anyone in eyesight.

Austrian house Broken Rules has now joined the fray with the definitive version of And Yet It Moves, an equally relaxing and befuddling puzzle-platformer with a unique ripped paper visual style that is surely unlike anything you’ve ever played. Unless you’ve already played it on PC, of course.

Your goal is as basic as it could get: all you’re tasked with is getting to the end of the stage. There are no real enemies to bop, no weapons to pow or arbitrary limitations to stress — it’s just you and a bunch of obstacles and puzzles. The twist is in the rotation: you’re given full control over the orientation of the game world and need to figure out how best to navigate a universe with no clear ups or downs.

It’s this simple morph that really turns platforming conventions on their heads, refreshingly requiring a sense of spatial awareness to successfully get through. If you don’t have that skill immediately then it will grow on you, and the encouraging checkpoint system and lack of time- or life-limit mean that failure will only set you back to the beginning of the section where you just bit it, a typical loss of 10 to 15 seconds. The stages are laid out in a way that makes new surprises always seem right around the corner, even up to the end, where the rule of thumb seems to be insanity.

The visual style and accompanying vocal soundtrack and effects help And Yet It Moves further stand out from the crowd, and they're put to great use in creating a world that feels as if it’s playing out on an expansive table on some rainy afternoon. The ripped, crumpled paper look isn’t always the most attractive, particularly in the early cave sections, but it does come into its own by the second act and then goes positively bonkers in the final stages. It’s impressive and generally runs smoothly, but we did notice that the second act was riddled with odd framerate hiccups that would inexplicably stutter the action and drop certain sound effects. These quirks ironed themselves out later and you might not experience them for yourself, but in case you do, prepare for a rough middle game.

Twisting the world on PC was limited to 90-degree rotations, but on Wii the new motion control options allow you to make even the slightest adjustments. As a result, the stages are somewhat easier to navigate than before and overall, it feels like how the game was intended to play all along. There are four variants total: one for the Remote held sideways, two with the Nunchuck and one for the Classic Controller. They all work well, but the sideways Remote is the best bet as we feel it incorporates the rotating mechanic in the most natural way by holding the 1 button and twisting.

The 16 Journey stages are over and done within a couple of hours, but in addition to improved controls, this WiiWare edition includes a number of additions to extend its life and entice those who have either held off on the PC version or have already run through the game. Four devious new stages greet you after the credits turn that will really put your skills to the test. Extra modes like the calculating Limited Rotations and life-limiting Survival pop up over the course of the game, and unlocking certain achievements (of which there are an extra 12, now totaling 28) enables modifications like game speed adjustment and a “retro” 90-degree turn limitation sure to please And Yet It Moves purists. Sadly, online leaderboards and ghost sharing have been removed in the jump to WiiWare, but you can still conquer ghosts from your three profiles and square off on the local leaderboards in Time Trial.

Conclusion

Broken Rules certainly lives up to its name with And Yet It Moves, and the result is an addictive and memorable puzzle-platformer sure to please anyone with an affinity for either genre. Despite losing its online capabilities, the wealth of additions and improved control options make this WiiWare release stand as the definitive version of the game and one of the better titles to hit the service. If you haven’t done so before, get it. If you have, consider double-dipping.

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