“A game I made
For a certain kind of person
To hurt them.”
Never has a game stuck to its mission statement or has been just the most infuriating game ever than Getting Over It: With Bennett Foddy. On its surface, Getting Over It seems like a goofy premise: you play as a shirtless man in a cauldron who happens to be wielding a hammer/pick and has the most incredible arm strength that anyone has ever seen. Seriously, this guy rivals Captain America with his sheer lifting power all while
sitting existing (?) in an improperly proportioned black cauldron. However, underneath this whimsical exterior is the epitome of frustration and hate. By the end of your journey you will end up as one of two people- a calm meditative guru or a shaking ball of anger on the floor.
I went into this game knowing it would be difficult after seeing different YouTubers like Markiplier and others rage endlessly at this game. On top of that I earnestly tried to be calm and collected and do some research before-hand. I watched Markiplier struggle and tried to memorize the movements that got him farther and farther along until finally I felt ready to undertake the challenge I had set for myself. Getting Over It starts you out on a little spot of land on the left side of a tree and a small snippet of dialogue about the origins of the game. The idea for Getting Over It was originally developed in 2002 by a Czech developer named Jazzuo in his game called Sexy Hiking (all of this is mentioned in the first few minutes of play). Sexy Hiking featured a few different levels and the premise was basically the same- climb the object in front of you and reach the goal with nothing but a hammer and determination; though in Getting Over It, the goal is hundreds of feet above you on top of a pile of junk that consists of anything from office buildings to a residential neighborhood, complete with an inflatable pool and grill, in a seemingly endless expanse. With nothing but my pride and determination I listened to Bennett Foddy gently explain the game in his wonderful dialogue carried by a soothing Jazz track. Remarkably I was getting through the obstacles with ease and I thought I was on the fast track to the top. After a couple hours of game-play I reached a particularly tough patch requiring me to have a dexterous touch that I apparently didn’t have. A few failed attempts later the absolute worst thing happened.
Getting Over It lets you know at the beginning of the game that it will save your progress- even your mistakes. What you think to be a witty jab at the beginning will inevitably come back to haunt you when you fall all the way back down to that stupid tree you started at 3 hours ago…because there are zero save points. At all. At this point, Getting Over It will do one of two things: it will break you or harden your resolve even further and keep pushing you onward again through the same obstacles you have traversed before. This moment is when the game really comes into focus. With nothing more than an “Oof, that’s a bummer” from the game, I was set back on hours of progress, but the thing is, there was a profound sense of calm that came with starting over. I consistently said to myself that I could get back through and that I had done it before so why would it be any different than now?
After spending a few hours climbing back up to the progress I had originally made I reflected on the dialogue that had brought me there so far. Bennett Foddy states at the beginning of the game that this particular game is designed to make you care less, to take things in stride and let life take you wherever it goes. Most people that play this are so blinded by the anger that they don’t realize that this is what the game is about, letting go of that anger and hate and just being okay with things. When you take a moment to step back, Getting Over It is about getting over yourself, not getting over the obstacles. Once you realize that, this game actually becomes lovely. You are able to take in the nice music, the nice comforting dialogue, the weird grunts of the cauldron-man, and the sharp hits of the pick as you climb the mountain.
Getting Over It: With Bennett Foddy has a lot of annoyances and is abysmal to control (as seen above), but these were all things that the developer had in mind when he created the game. It is designed to be frustrating and annoying, and on that front it succeeds quite well, but I can’t in good conscience call them actual “problems.” When a game is designed around purposefully bad controls it is difficult to classify it in the same vein as a mistake, even though this exact scenario I would call a problem in almost any other game. Even with these aspects, the game is really interesting to play and, according to Bennett Foddy himself, will give you in between 2 and Infinity hours of game-play. So if you are a glutton for punishment or just really want to rid yourself of some anxiety (or create more depending on who you are as a person) try playing Getting Over It: With Bennett Foddy.