Puzzle/platforming has received some nice shots in the arm this gen with Braid, Trine, and LIMBO. Now, Wii fans have something new that represents the genre proudly and multi-console owners yearning for something new after conquering LIMBO will also find a lot to love about this physics-based puzzle/platformer. Originally released on the PC a year ago, AYIM hits WiiWare with a few new levels and the ability to rotate the world in 360 degrees as opposed to the original’s 90. The highly-acclaimed LIMBO stood out instantly due to black and white visuals, while And Yet It Moves stands out with its paper craft world and puzzles that rely on spinning the world around to solve.
AYIM's simple premise of getting your character to the end of the level while encountering very few enemies beguiles its highly-strategic gameplay. All of the puzzles are environmental in nature - whether they involve rotating a tree branch to where it's close enough for you to reach it, or carefully pausing and spinning the world to get raindrops to fall and break up the rocks blocking your path, or even using the world rotation to cause an insect enemy to fall into a paper fold and disappear. They all require some thought, and a lot of trial and error, to properly solve. There’s even strategy in how you land - landing on a slope is much easier on your character’s body than landing on a straight horizontal line, so you always have to be mindful of tilting the world in such a way that you can still move it where you need it to go without moving it so much that he’ll land on a perfectly horizontal area and be smashed to bits. You have unlimited lives, and after each of your many deaths, you start off at your closest checkpoint, which is never too far away.
Given that the key to solving puzzles is careful manipulation of the landscape, it’s fitting that when using the Wii remote to control the game, you pause the action, and then turn the remote as if it was a key either to the left or right to tilt the world. You can also control it with the classic controller, which may be a less creative way to control the action, but I found it to be more comfortable, responsive, and offering up more precise tilting controls. It speeds up the pacing a bit as well since the pause is automatic when you press either the L or R buttons to tilt the world, as opposed to having to press a separate button entirely just to pause the action. The Wii remote controls are certainly functional, but not as well-executed as the Classic controller ones.
The paper craft world looks fantastic in both screenshots and motion. It helps the game stand out instantly, with the main character appearing to be cut out of a notebook doodle while the world itself appears to be cut out of a magazine. The visual style is very striking, and the only real black mark on it is the lack of variety with death animations. Honestly, this wouldn’t have even stuck out to me if I hadn’t played LIMBO, but after seeing the dozens of humorous and sometimes grizzly death animations, just having one where your character breaks into a bunch of little pieces over and over again seems a little disappointing. Like LIMBO, AYIM relies on ambient sound effects and abstract noises for its soundtrack, and it’s a surprisingly catchy one that creates a very relaxed and laid back feel to the game.
If you’ve already played the PC version, then I’m not sure if the additional three levels and Wii control setup will be enough to sway you to double dip, but for those who mainly stick to console play and haven’t, and love the genre, definitely pick this up as soon as you can. It’s only $10 and while it doesn’t offer up many levels, it does offer up a lot of replay value with a time trial mode and delivering a game that is simply fun to replay no matter how many times you’ve overcome its obstacles.