In Yin Yang, the latest Nitrome game, twin gods team up across two parallel universes to beat level 25. Yin is a cackly faced imp boy who seems like a pared down Bart Simpson trapped in a blindingly white everlasting noon. Yang is a plucky bolt of Shakti energy, wandering the dark as a rare night-lite. They take turns exploring their respective universes, moving boxes (yeah! boxes!) and climbing ladders, flipping gravity. There's a dragon that will mimic your move in the other world.
The [left] and [right] arrow keys move you about, [up] jumps, [space] flips the screen, the [control] button moves boxes and reads signs. Get to the flags. Coins are good.
Analysis: Nitrome again delivers an interesting exploration of a concept, a platformer about metaphysical duality, and it offers a healthy plate of puzzle-levels to allow you to absorb all the flavors. Unfortunately, level design seems tailored to a more traditional kind of platformer, one about moving and avoiding enemies, performing key jump sequences, timing yourself, dodging through a gauntlet of spiked walls. This creates the situation of unnecessary death far too frequently; you have to replay the whole thing again, retracing all steps. Having a Braid-esque re-wind function or faster movement would help, or maybe check-points even. Designing more evenly paced, cerebral, riddle-like levels would've been more on point to the underlying dynamic of Yin and Yang, tag-teaming folds in time-space.
You can sort of take advantage of time-warping when you flip gravity. Its tricky, while its flipping you'll want to push the key opposite of the direction you want to go in. As soon as it completes the flip, switch keys, you'll roll right in that direction.
I really like seeing these platform games that start playing with things other than platforms. Reinvent a genre as many ways as possible, because a genre is only a mechanic, there are so many mechanic-sets that can make good gameplay. Its not like the casual-game equivalent of inventing Cold Fusion, but its probably as good as a Domino's Oreo dessert pizza.
The game is also available to Play at MTV Arcade
Update 2: Although it looks as if the idea for this game came directly from a game design concept on another blog, Mat Annal of Nitrome assures me that the idea for Yin Yang is entirely their own:
"We really thought we had struck something interesting so it was disappointing to find that someone had had the same basic idea and had it before we had it and I understand people thinking we must have seen it."
"The idea isn't really that hard to fall upon if you're coding games in a certain way. We have used the bitmapData object most of our games since Sandman and basically what this does is allow you access to the pixel data of a bitmap so you can manipulate it (we used it for the sand in sandman which is why we started using it). If you're using it to make a platform game then it is logical to use different colours in a collision layer to represent different things you might collide with (red= ground/walls, blue=ice, yellow=keys etc). When you're coding like this it's not a giant leap to come up with the idea to have different things to act differently with the colours. I think the only reason nobody has came up with this before is that nobody really uses the bitmap data object for platform type games (they would tend to use tiles or vector line collision instead and then you wouldn't use colours as a way to interact with things). We could have had more colours involved but it made sense to not overcomplicate it and when you only have two black and white is the obvious choice."
-Mat Annal, Nitrome