The best kinds of games are those which need little in the way of explanation. You know what I mean; they’re so straightforward, so intuitive, that you simply pick them up and play, tutorials be damned. If you’re looking for a solid example of that very concept, then look no further than the wonderful indie platformer that is The Floor Is Jelly.
Upon loading the game for the first time, you’ll probably think that you’ve got the wrong file or that somebody is trolling you. Initially, it doesn’t bear any resemblance to the screenshots, or any platformer for that matter. After toying around a bit with random shapes (with nary a scrap of instruction as to what to do next), the game literally forms itself and the real fun begins.
As the name would imply, the surface area is… well… I don’t know if it’s jelly per se, but it’s certainly some sort of bouncy substance that warps and distorts to virtually your every whim. Executing a simple jump or running headlong into a wall will send you ricocheting in the opposite direction with hasty abandon, and it’s around this minimal mechanic that the entire game is based.
Mastering the art of fanciful bouncing is the key to success in The Floor Is Jelly. Getting from the start to the exit while navigating the easily-influenced landscape begins simply enough, but it soon requires a bit of skill and precision timing, turning into something that comes close to what some would call a “puzzle”.
There are no enemies to speak of. The challenge comes from getting your head around basic Newtonian physics whilst avoiding bottomless pits and deadly spikes. There is an aura of mystery and unspoken direction throughout: an early example has a frog bouncing around willy-nilly, inviting players to mimic its actions in order to reach otherwise unobtainable heights. Players are expected to be self-reliant and figuring out a particular level’s niggles leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Apart from being a solid, if short, platforming experience, this game’s strengths lie in the beautiful aesthetic. The colourful, simple, otherworldly look and lovely ambient music go a long way in making an artistic statement. The world is alive, and the way the ground ripples and jiggles is both convincing and mesmerizing.
If you’d like to bounce right into the action, you can jiggle your butt this way to secure yourself a copy. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, and be advised that it requires Adobe AIR to install. As of this writing, it’s on sale for $8.99, as opposed to the normal going rate of $9.99.