And Yet It Moves: Controls and Mistakes

I can’t really back this up, but I get the impression that And Yet It Moves is best-known as a Wiiware title, even though it was released for Mac and PC first. I suppose that’s just the nature of the market right now. Even ignoring the popularity of the Wii, Wiiware is an effective tool for making games visible to people who wouldn’t be exposed to them otherwise. But also, even though I haven’t tried the Wii version, it sounds like a better game. I mentioned that there are rotating-world games that give you continuous rotation, rather than the four-sided stuff I’m seeing here. The Wii version of AYIM has that, with multiple ways of accessing it from the controls. I have to wonder if the puzzle content had to be redesigned at all to accommodate continuous rotation or if it was just left alone, and if the latter, whether it makes alternate approaches possible.

One description I’ve read says that continuous rotation makes things more difficult, but it almost has to be easier to at least do what you intend most of the time. With a keyboard, you have the left hand on WASD and your right hand on the arrow keys, although only three keys of each set are used: A and D to move left and right, W to jump, Left Arrow to rotate the world counterclockwise 90 degrees, Right Arrow to rotate clockwise, and Up Arrow to do a 180-degree flip. The problem with this is that the directions of rotation aren’t very strongly associated with left and right. Half the time, I wind up pressing the wrong thing — which, given that the world takes a little time to rotate, and doesn’t freeze while it’s rotating, can be enough to kill me or otherwise make me start over whatever I was trying to do. (Checkpoints are plentiful, at least.) At first, I tried to remember that the left/right arrow keys indicate the direction the top of the screen moves in, but this is a difficult thing to apply in the heat of action. After a while, I instead tried thinking of it as pressing the key corresponding to the direction that I want to become down — a rule that happily applies to the up arrow as well. I think this is a little easier to apply, but I still wind up making a lot of mistakes.

The times when I’m least likely to make mistakes are the more intense stretches, when I’m rotating the playfield a lot. I don’t even think about it in terms of absolute directions then: I just know that I have to rotate the world opposite to my last rotation, or in the same direction again, and that’s an easy thing to communicate to my fingers. The game seems to be making this kind of quick flurry or rotation more and more necessary as the game goes on, replacing the more conventional platforming, which could have the ironic effect of making things easier for me.

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