Review: Mover

Store page / View this review on Steam

Review copy provided by developer via Curator Connect

I’m sure every aspiring programmer remembers the first game they cobbled together. Whether it be a square moving around a larger square or a copy of Tetris, that first big success is a huge confidence booster for anyone hoping to create interactive worlds. The thing is, most aspiring programmers leave that first triumph behind to build newer and better things as they gain more experience. They don’t normally put it up for sale, buggy and incomplete as it is. I’m not necessarily saying that’s what the creator of Mover did, but it should give you a pretty clear image of what you’re getting for your dollar.

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You’re a triangle, moving through a scan-line maze of square rooms. There are circles that will kill you if you touch them. When you reach the warpy-looking thing in the last room, you move on to the next level. That’s it. No powers, no combat, no collectibles, no branching paths, no secrets, no nothing. You get five levels to show off your moving skills, and then after that the game generates random levels for you to keep moving on in. It’s a nice consideration since the initial five levels will take about 10 minutes to finish, but at level 11 the map wouldn’t load properly and I was stuck with the camera zoomed all the way in on my triangle. So maybe think of it as only having 10 levels.

There are three obstacles in your path that you’ll need to learn to avoid. First up are big white circles that don’t move, but charge at you when you get near. The timing on these is wildly inconsistent to the point of seeming like a bug, so you’ll want to keep on rolling past them until they wake up and hope it’s not at an inopportune time. Then there are big white circles that move in a circle, easy enough to avoid. Finally there are some boxes for variety, but they just shoot little white circles at you. Dodging these hazards isn’t too much of a challenge but some halls can be pretty tight, and the walls of some rooms don’t render correctly so it might look like you have more space than you do.

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The lo-fi scan line presentation is nice enough, but just suggests there’s more to this game than there actually is. Seriously, I kept wondering if this was like a bait-and-switch where the real game would burst from the chest of this dreary thing but nope, it’s really just scooting a triangle around buggy levels. The NES chiptune music doesn’t help either, clashing badly with the minimalism of the art. Even if Mover weren’t terribly buggy it’s a terribly hollow experience, with absolutely no hooks whatsoever to keep you invested. At your laziest, most disconnected moments you could still find a mindless time-waster with more heart and content than this, and I encourage you to do just that.

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