And Yet It Moves: Ending

And Yet It Moves consists of three chapters, an interactive credits sequence, and a bonus level. The first chapter is set in a cave, the second in a forest, and the third, after starting in the forest, goes all trippy and stops pretending to be representational. The scraps that form the world suddenly take on a brightly-colored pattern like wrapping paper, and the set-pieces become more elaborate and more gameish. None of the game tries to be particularly realistic, but here at the end, the designer seems to feel freer to just do whatever he finds interesting.

Objects grow and shrink, or have textures that move completely independently of their real motion. Some areas rotate continuously on their own — compensating for this with only 90-degree turns is difficult enough that it seems like these bits in particular have to be easier on the Wii. There’s a repeated gimmick of colored platforms that appear and disappear in time with the background music. The background music doesn’t usually have a very strong beat, but for these segments, it changes. I really don’t care for the music in this game — it consists mainly of random Seinfeld-style mouth-pops and samples of someone saying “Doong” — but in the these segments, it becomes more coherent, and thus more tolerable. In fact, it reminds me of the music sections in some of the Rayman games.

And there’s a motif, used once per level towards the end, of doubling the player character. You hit a checkpoint in what looks like a dead end — it should be noted that the checkpoints look like sketch-people similar to the player avatar, who stand still and point in the direction you should go next, like a guide — and suddenly the world changes into an enclosed space with two such guides, one color-inverted, white-on-black instead of black-on-white. Another sketch-person stands there, and you’re in control of both, but they move in opposite directions. The only way to continue is to get them both to their opposite guides at once. It’s reminiscent of Scott Kim’s Double Maze, except taking place in a single space.

At the very end — and into the credits and bonus level — the color drains from the world, leaving it unmarked white, with occasional crumples and creases. It’s sort of a larger-scale version of what happens at the end of every level: your sketch-guy finds a white space with a black silhouette in the shape of himself and fits himself into it, restoring it to its pristine condition. Unusually for a platformer, the game doesn’t even address the question of why the player character wants to do this. You could interpret the whole thing as a metaphor for transcending the world of appearances (the photographs and other markings) and achieving awareness of the world as it is, which in this game means just paper. Except of course that the papery appearance is itself artifice. It’s all just bits. When the image on a “scrap” moves independently of its edges, it makes it clear that these aren’t even digitized versions of things that ever even existed as scraps in the physical world.

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