Indie Quickie: The Floor is Jelly

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? This is a very colorful one-button platformer where most of the surfaces are of a jellylike, bouncy consistency.

Who made it and where can you get it? IGF Finalist Ian Snyder has it available at thefloorisjelly.com for $9.99.

How much did we play? I played for roughly an hour which was enough time to finish the introductory series of levels and the first hub world.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? The game is setup to be played with the keyboard, but it is difficult to do some of the more complex platforming with just the arrow keys. A gamepad can be used, but only if a secondary program like Joy2Key is installed as there is no integrated controller support. Depending on what is running in the background there can be some slowdown. There is no documentation that comes with the game. There might be some on a website somewhere that one can hunt down, but it does not come with the initial download.

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Why should you play it?

    • The Floor Really is Jelly: The name says it all, this is a game where the floor is jelly. Under an impenetrable membrane, what would normally be a solid wall or floor in most games is here a malleable substance that will initially deform and then bounce back. A bright and bold palette colors the various levels where a little faceless thing jumps and bounces off of the jelly-filled surfaces. This has two effects. The first is that the trees and flowers and other things attached to the world will bounce around yet stay stuck to the surface. This means that unless the jumping thing you control has stayed still for a long time, something in the world will always be moving as a result of him just making his way through the world. Even walking will deform the ground a little. The other effect of this bounciness is that if jumps are timed right, the momentum of the depressed ground springing upwards can be used to propel the jumping thing several times higher than it would normally go.

    • Bounce This: Using these basic mechanics players will navigate a series of uniquely colored worlds, the basic goal being to get to the window at the end of the level which leads to the starting window of the next. Spikes and bottomless pits must be navigated as players jump off of walls and bounce ever higher off jiggly floors. Some levels have mechanics that alter the basic setup, like switches that rotate the entire world ninety degrees or water lines which cause gravity to reverse until the jumper resurfaces. After the initial level, players will go to a hub world where multiple series of levels must be completed to unlock what, I assume, is the next in a series of hub worlds. The closest thing to an explanation in this game is a frog early on that repeatedly jumps to the top of the screen using the world bouncing trick. Everything else after that is something to explore. Death will result in a respawn at the last window. The levels are not very long, so failure is not overly punishing.

Parting Thoughts: This is a neat little game that takes the classic gameplay of jumping around on platforms and off of walls and mixes it with an interesting look that has a meaningful impact on how the environment is navigated. Even if the floor was not made of jelly and it was just a static treat for the eyes and ears, this would still be a nice game to play. That everything wobbles like it was stitched to a water bed gives it a unique twist and appeal.

About the Author

Steve has been playing video games since the start of the 1980s. While the first video game system he played was his father's, an Atari 2600, he soon began saving allowances and working for extra money every summer to afford the latest in interactive entertainment. He is keenly aware of how much it stinks to spend good money on a bad game. It does things to a man. It makes stink way too much time into games like Karnov to justify the purchase.