Thursday, January 30, 2014

PC Spotlight #72: The Floor Is Jelly

Title: The Floor Is Jelly
Developer: Ian Snyder
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $10 (currently 10% for $9)
There's a fine line between gimmick and innovation. Stray too far to one side, and the mechanic meant as a hook seems uninspired, boring. Watching The Floor Is Jelly, it's hard to tell if its physics-based amorphous world is one or the other, but once I played the game, I can safely say that its titular idea influences all aspects of the game for the better.
The Floor Is Jelly is set in a weird abstract world where everything from the ground to water is made of the malleable substance. On the surface, The Floor Is Jelly is a standard platformer, run and jump over gaps, and dangerous spikes, wall-jump up narrow tunnels. The controls are responsive and simple. On that note, it' isn't the most challenging game, certainly not in the spectrum of difficulty of games like Super Meat Boy or even Braid. But those points aren't negatives; The Floor Is Jelly is a fun game, and the difficulty comes not from frustrating challenge but from the gradual layering of new interesting puzzle mechanics. From flowers that bloom in rain and those only sprout without rain (because they're part cat of course) to switches that rotate entire levels, and then switches that rotate only singular platforms, and later Guacamelee-style dimension swapping, The Floor Is Jelly constantly introduces new mechanics that add to the core gameplay in fun ways.
But the game wouldn't be as fun or enjoyable without its artstyle and fluid environments. More than just a simple art style, the jelly world enhances and adds to the gameplay and offers platforming opportunities that solid levels can't. The floor can act as a trampoline, boosting you to great height depending on the distance you fell. You can bounce under spikes by pushing the ground with your momentum. Not only that, the constantly moving worlds, affected by your every movement, is just a joy to watch and never got old over my playthrough.

The Floor Is Jelly is a charming fun puzzle platformer that uses its unique style to great artistic effect. You can purchase the game from the official site and the Humble Store. (Now available on Humble)

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