First Drafts: “Mobius”

Game jams and indie sites are filled with novel concepts that could sometimes use a bit more fleshing out. This off-and-on feature aims to highlight great concepts that we hope we haven’t seen the last of.

I’m beyond delighted to learn that Adam Pype (@adampi) is working on Shovel Knight Dig, but I really hope he at some point returns to Mobius, because this is a really fun concept that deserves to be fleshed out. Still, even as a pared-down experimental platformer, there’s a good progression to the journey.

Things begin simply enough with just a circle, getting you used to navigating this wrap-around space, but soon enough, you’re able to “twist” the circle, creating a mobius strip that you must rotate with one hand while leaping about it with the other. The coin-collecting’s just there to force you to full explore both sides of these strips, and to figure out how to additionally manipulate them by shrinking or growing the bands to alter how the various points connect with one another. It’s actually the game’s weakest design, particularly once timed blue coins appear. These are not the sort of environments you want to have to rush through, especially with these heavy jumps and instant-death spikes, which also makes the two boss “fights” more irksome than anything else.

Not enough has been done with perspective-shifting platforming. There’s Fez, perhaps, and plenty of puzzle games like Monument Valley, but mainstays like Super Mario Odyssey have only toyed with what it might be like to have a 2D Mario navigate three-dimensional murals, and other indies like VVVVV and Dandara have only really messed with a player’s orientation. Mobius goes round and round without spinning in place, ultimately going so far as to introduce two concentric strips at once, which players can leap between like some impossible, dizzying mobile. More of this, please!

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