As a rule jumping is straightforward. Step 1 is gather force, step 2 is fling yourself in the air. While fish leaping from the water have proven that legs aren’t a requirement, as a general rule a platformer at least wants a being with legs to stick the landing. Ynglet is a platforming adventure where a jellyfish-like creature leaps from one point of safety to another without any need for either feet or solid ground, and it’s a wonderfully pretty adventure that requires far more skill than its artistic design might imply.
The jellyfish Ynglet and its friends are hanging out when all of a sudden a random comet/meteor/thingy blasts through their pool. This sends everyone flying to all corners of the map, so as any good aquatic-like critter would do Ynglet heads off in search of them. I was able to play the first several levels while rescuing a couple of Ynglet’s friends starting off with simple challenges and working my way up to lengthy strings of platforming acrobatics and found a world with its own unique rules that make perfect sense after a few seconds coming to grips with each new element.
The way the platforming works is simple. Ynglet can swim out of the safe zone of each bubble, using its momentum to travel from one to the next, and in between bubbles gravity pulls it downward. Not only are the bubbles a risk-free area but they all act as save points if you spend a few seconds inside. At first it feels overly generous, but soon enough new tools and obstacles show up to put Ynglet’s moves to the test. Ynglet’s only ability aside from swimming is a dash, which slows down time to a crawl while you line up the shot, but the level toys react to it in various ways that make it important to use properly. The red lines, for example, require a dash to ricochet Ynglet off them while moving at normal falling speed falls right through as if nothing was there, but the blue lines that bounce Ynglet along work the opposite way. The yellow rails don’t care one way or the other, grabbing the questing jellyfish and zipping it along the track whether dashing or falling, but in the bit I got to see that was a one-off. Most non-safe-point tools require the right input to use properly, and that means sometimes you need to carefully avoid the dash to prevent the more fragile bubbles from popping with its force.
While Ynglet started off simple it didn’t take long for it to show its teeth/barbed tentacles. The initial areas were a couple of jumps from one bubble to the next, but soon enough it was demanding a decent amount of attention to progress. Part of the trick was not getting too caught up in the momentum and remembering to stop during a moment of safety, resulting in a line being drawn around the current bubble and it acting as a new checkpoint. It ends up being a self-imposed check on getting overly focused on pure challenge and a couple of times the brief rest caused me to look around and enjoy the art style. Not a lot of games go for a fine-point felt tip marker aesthetic, but Ynglet puts it to good use and it’s worth the time to stop and admire now and then. Ynglet lives in an odd semi-abstract world filled with moments of safety floating in a endless void, but with a little skill that’s nothing a determined jellyfish can’t platform its way through.