Previously, on "As the World Turns"...
The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that the world was exceedingly two-dimensional. Almost perfectly flat, in fact, except for some rogue wrinkles peppering the landscape and crinkling objects, making everything look like they were made of paper. I took a few shaky steps forward and immediately noticed something even stranger - I was made of paper myself!
[image1]I barely had any time to contemplate these bizarre circumstances when the ground shook beneath me. Was it an earthquake (or paperquake)? Similar, but far more intense. The entire world turned around me. From the rocky ground to the swaying trees to the black abyss overhead, everything rotated, leaving me scrambling to regain some semblance of balance.
No, I wasn't having a bad acid trip. Nor was I in some sick, twisted version of Paper Mario. I was playing And Yet it Moves, a unique little downloadable indie game that's just now made its way to WiiWare.
The game is pleasingly simple - your little paper man can only do two things: run and jump. No weapons, power-ups, double jumps, or combos here. But of course, there's a twist. Run and jump may be all that the paper man can do, but it's not all you can do. Like the egomaniacal tyrant that I'm sure you are, you have free reign to pause the action at any time you want and rotate the whole world around your hapless peon. Everything moves except the little guy himself.
As you can imagine, the puzzles revolve around this mechanic. Wall too steep to jump over? Flip it and make it the floor. Rocks falling from the ceiling? Change gravity on those bad boys. Monkey throwing feces in your face? Turn the tables midair and fling it back in his (I wish I had made that one up myself, but I can't take credit for it. You actually get to do it at one point!)
[image2]This is a game reminiscent of the recent jaw-dropping indie hit Limbo: platforming with simple two-button controls that get some incredible mileage on the complexity of the puzzles. AYIM isn't as stellar an offering as Limbo (few, if any, indie games can make that claim anyway), but it's good solid platforming fun while it lasts.
That's one of the problems: The game is pretty short, with an adventure mode that takes less than five hours to finish (and that's including the four new levels for this version). Achievements (on Wii? Am I hallucinating?), time trials, and survival modes do their best to add to the replay value, but there really isn't a whole lot to keep you coming back after one playthrough.
The other issue is that it's too easy, which oddly enough, only applies to the Wii version. The original PC version allowed you to rotate in only 90-degree intervals. This was more difficult for two reasons. First, the extra precision in rotating as much or as little as you want on the Wii makes the platforming far more forgiving. Second, the PC version doesn't pause when you're rotating. It does quick 90-degree turns in real time.
Since it would be virtually impossible to do quick rotations with the Wiimote in real-time, the game always pauses the action to let you make just the right adjustments. Not only does this give you a breather to think things over any time you want, it lets you cheat on certain timing puzzles (think of those old-school Mega Man-style platforms that appear and disappear, except you can hover in midair for as long as you want).
[image3]Note that unlocking "retro mode" allows you to play in the 90-degree PC style, complete with no-pause rotating. Also note, however, that this mode is far too frustrating to play without a classic controller. The other control schemes all involve rotating with the Wii-mote's pointer or motion-sensing, and there's too much lag time to make your rotations without the pausing. Damned if you do, damned if you don't (but blessed if you have a classic controller, I guess).
Still, the game is undeniably interesting and pretty fun for a while. More importantly, it's innovative, which earns it a spot in this exciting summer of indie games. AYIM isn't the cream of the crop of all the great downloadable games that are coming out these days, but it's definitely up on the roster.