A Good Spell: Prose And Motion

By John Walker on February 15th, 2010 at 8:32 am.

It's not AMUSES, see.

This fantastic webgame came to us via a tip from Jack, for which we salute him. Called Prose and Motion, it’s by MoFunZone.com. It’s a remarkably clever idea, taking something as simple as solving anagrams, and applying fifteen types of smart to it. It’s spelling meets physics meets lateral thinking.

So rather than simply rejig the word, the letters here are all physical objects in the room. Each is picked up and moved around, being careful not to swing it into the others and knock them over, or off ledges, and so on. Often the scene will have other items in it too, sometimes purely decoration, other times part of the solution. For instance, in one level you must build a bridge from blocks and planks before you can spell out the word.

METAL would be too easy.

The next twist is the ability to rotate letters. S an M can be swung around to become an E, or perhaps a W. C is also U. N could be Z. And so on. The makes the possible solutions available more varied, of course, which is why each level has what it describes as a “perfect” word. This is a word associated with the cryptic clue on screen. You can advance with any word, but simply being told it falls short of perfection is often temptation enough to retry. Get too annoyed with not being able to spot the word it’s after and the “solution” button takes you to videos of each level being solved.

Like so many indie games are really getting right just now, it has the most splendid difficulty curve, improving the complexity of each level steadily and in a constantly interesting way. Which is no meat feat. The letter rotation thing is inspired, and the design is cute, simple, and incessantly smart.

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28 Comments »

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  1. D says:

    Little early in the morning Mr. Anagram Genius :P

  2. Jayt says:

    Fun, but the controls just frustrated me. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t do it.

    • Hodge says:

      Agreed, the way the letters (over)react to even the slightest mouse movement is just painful. Never mind that the only way to get a P to stay upright is to prop it up with letters on either side. I felt like I was fighting the interface and not the puzzles, which is never a good thing in a game like this.

      Some kind of mechanic where the letters snapped to the nearest 90 degree rotation once dropped would be more than welcome. Unless it’s there and I’m missing it?

      In spite of that, it’s a wonderful idea, and I wish I didn’t discover it just now when I have to sleep…

  3. Boldoran says:

    Great game but I am no good at anagrams.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    Nice idea, but I stopped at the “sometimes you have to put up with the little annoyances” one. Because deliberately annoying levels are stupid.

  5. JB says:

    Won’t even load for me, I just get the newgrounds page with an empty window where the game should be. =(

    • John Walker says:

      Try turning AdBlock off. And turn it off on our site too while you’re at it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      Same happening here, and never used AdBlock. :(

    • Jayt says:

      Did you try just refreshing the page? Worked for me.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Got the same problem in Firefox, but it loaded fine in Chrome. Not got adblock installed either. When you ASSUME, Mr. Walker, you make an ASS out of… hey! That would have been a good one for this game!

      I kind of wanted to enjoy messing around with the neat physics in this game, but chaining it to the need to perform a more mental task (spelling) grew frustrating. Which reminds me of that article Kieron put in the Sunday Papes t’other week – about how you can make games which challenge the player purely to master the interface (pong), which are all fine and good, but games in which the interface has to be mastered as a primary barrier to a player wanting to input a solution to an external solution (as in most adventures and certain puzzle games (this and Professor Layton rather than say Tetris)) will always piss off the player, regardless of how technically whizzo or pleasantly bemusicked (it is so a word!) .

    • JB says:

      Tried refreshing immediately, and no adblock here JW. I’ll have to try *shudder* another browser.

  6. Robin says:

    A less ‘arcadey’ take on the same idea is Blocks with Letters On .

  7. john t says:

    Ugh, awful. It shouldn’t be that hard to turn a letter right side up. Good idea, terrible execution.

  8. Melf_Himself says:

    Tthe hints don’t match the ideal word for each level, only the secondary word…. lame.

    • Devenger says:

      -A- secondary solution. I personally came up with a few responses that weren’t clued or the ideal (e.g. ZAPS for the bridge level, since you can spin the N, and I’d missed the easy solution at the start).I was pleased it recognised these alternatives perfectly fine.

      I will admit, though, anagrams aren’t my game. And the ‘little annoyances’ level did have a frustrating P to position, and I’m not a fan of games where the solution is clear, but the input method lacks the precision or reliability to act on the solution easily. But, hey, it’s a free Flash game, and I really liked some of the levels when I got them. Wouldn’t mind seeing more nifty stuff like this.

  9. Chiller says:

    While I suck at anagrams, that’s what software is for.
    While I suck at physics puzzles involving round-shaped things… there’s no software for that.
    Still, those levels can be skipped.
    Enjoyed it overall. Nice music too.

  10. Garg says:

    Great idea, shame it can be such a pain in the arse to make a P or Y stand on its end without then shoving all its neighbours out of the way.

  11. Skusey says:

    That was lovely, thanks for posting it. The levels with balls in them were silly but some of the ones towards the end were brilliant.

  12. TheBlackBandit says:

    Liked – The Physics and the black and white art style.

    Disliked – The Anagrams, something I have never, ever been able to do.

  13. Ricc says:

    The menu sounds remind me of World of Goo. :)

  14. Dr. Butts says:

    Painful physics problems where objects have the weight of dust mites is not fun unless you like mastering difficult control systems. The hints, both overt and subtle, were shite but I think the forgiving nature of this game– so long as you can get the damn words propped up nicely– was a big plus.

    Anagrams don’t scare me though. Thanks for the tip fellas

  15. bbot says:

    Typo: “Which is no meat feat”

    Perhaps you mean “mean”?

  16. Shadram says:

    I loved it. Didn’t find the controls too fiddly at all, I found that picking the letters up gently by the corners made it easy to flip them over. Balancing them on the ball levels was a pain, though, I’ll grant you that.

  17. geoff says:

    Another fundamental problem with the game is that many of the words that the hint gives are direct anagrams of the perfect word. Most of the time you dont have to flip the letters to find the perfect word, just re arrange them, so the primary concept of rotating letters is sort of lost. And the letter P cant become a lower case d, which would make sense even if a bit impure, I just feel he missed a trick or two.

  18. Ganabul says:

    Elegant.

    Sure, some of the puzzles are less successful than others, and some of the clues are a little lame/obvious, but I thought it was good. Nice find.