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The RPS Advent Calendar, Dec 9th

Climb every mountain

No obstacles can stand in your way as you seek the glories of door number nine.

It's Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy!

Graham: You are a half-naked man in a cauldron of water. A mountain stands before you, made of rock and metal and detritus. You can only move by using the sledgehammer in your hands to lift, shove and swing yourself across the terrain. Just the concept alone makes me fall in love with Getting Over It.

That concept is taken from another game, called Sexy Hiking, released for free in 2007. What Getting Over It does is pair it with nicer art and physics, which is fine, and with narration by creator Bennett Foddy. It's the narration that takes it from diverting novelty to sublime physical comedy. Foddy explains the philosophy of the game, drolly remarks upon your setbacks and comforts and mocks in equal measure. You can best get a sense of it and the game via the trailer, which is the best of trailers.

Watch on YouTube

Foddy is best known for QWOP, a game I enjoyed a great deal, but controlling your sprinter's limbs made progress feel impossible. It resisted serious attempts at success. Getting Over It by comparison always seems achievable. You can move your character forward in easy arcs just by rotating the hammer against the ground. You can punt yourself into the air by flicking the axe against the ground. You can, quite quickly, make what feels like substantial progress up the mountain.

This is, of course, a trap. You will hit a hard part and you will make a mistake and this mistake will send you all the way back to the beginning again. In QWOP I would just give up, bored or frustrated. I'm never frustrated when I fail in Getting Over It. Instead I think: I can do it again, and I can do it better. Suddenly it's hours later and there's a pain in my neck because I've been tensing my entire body with each tricky maneuver. As the trailer says, Getting Over It was made for a certain kind of person. I am that kind of person - and it hurts me.

Alice: One single motion explored to its brutal extreme. It is delightful - and I really mean that. Between the bricolage of everyday objects making up the level, Foddy's narration, and the gentle building of tricks, it smiles as it stamps on your fingers while you dangle above a precipice. Don't get angry, get over it.

Head back to the calendar to open the door to another of 2017's best games.

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