I love myself a good platformer. I still play Super Meat Boy to speed run it because I find it infinitely replayable. Never heard of The Floor is Jelly? It’s likely you wouldn’t have. It’s not on Steam, not on Desura, but quite fittingly on the Humble store for 10 dollars. It’s a platformer not unlike Super Meat Boy, but with a twist. Every surface is a Non-Newtonian fluid, possessing a jellylike consistency. Throw in some puzzles and you’ve got The Floor is Jelly in a nutshell.
You play as a Pac-Man ghost-like figure in a world made up of entirely complementary colours. The short tutorial level allows you to get accustomed to how everything being made of jelly affects platforming. Something to mention is that there’s no written step by step tutorial. Everything you figure out, you figure out yourself. You can run left and right using the arrow keys and the up arrow or space to jump. Something that slightly lets the controls down is the lack of support for an Xbox360 or similar controller. It controls fine with the keyboard, but it would’ve been nice to have the option.
From there you get taken to a hub world full of winding paths. There are 3 elevators that take you to different worlds. They can be played in any order you like. Once you beat all three, you can move on to the next sector. There are 3 sectors with 3 levels each and then a final longer level. It took me about four hours to beat, getting stuck on puzzles and whatnot. It’s a short game, but every level introduces a new mechanic and theme that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It reminds me of the short but sweet experience that Portal was, only without the kickass story.
The physics feel similar to Super Meat Boy. You can wall jump and slide down walls in very much the same way. The jelly changes this up by being able to bounce higher and higher on the rebound. Creating a ripple in a wall can allow you to sneak underneath obstacles like red spiky jelly which results in instant death. Speaking of death, it resets you straight away in the room you were in, much like Super Meat Boy, which cancels out a lot of the frustration in the more puzzling rooms.
There’s a big emphasis on keeping momentum, especially when water comes into play. Water sort of acts like a reverse gravity element. The higher you jump from, the higher you’ll be rebounded back up. This works in tandem with the jelly to really get you to use its malleability to your advantage. There is a timing with the jumps that takes a little while to get used to, but once you get the flow, it is truly rewarding.
The graphics are sharp and colourful with a flat clip-art sort of motif, like a Photoshop brush with clean lines. It runs at a glorious 60fps with dynamic foliage that pops up when you run across. The jelly physics modelling behaves as you’d expect and ripples dissipate slowly. It truly is a beautiful game with a great ambient soundtrack to boot, ranging from electronic, to piano and guitar ditties that change dynamically as you move around or go underwater. The game runs in full screen, but as you can see from the screenshots it is intentionally letterboxed. I’m not sure whether I like that or not, but it doesn’t detract from the visuals in any way. It’s one of those games that static images do not do any justice.
I had a good time with The Floor is Jelly. Considering its price and length, ten dollars might be a little steep, which is sad considering the overall polish and brilliant design. A lack of story to grab on to may deter replayability, but if you really enjoy the platforming and puzzle solving, it could certainly be replayed and enjoyed.
Last Updated: February 5, 2014