Another World is a game I've often thought of purchasing for my brand new Nexus 7, so I really appreciate this reader review from Michael Hart, particularly since he didn't spend much time with the original, and therefore comes to the game with a fresh, alternative perspective. Good stuff Michael! Take it away!
Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition
This is without a doubt the oldest game I’ve written a reader review for…but as they say these days, old is new again, and so we have Another World. Originally released in 1991 on the Amiga and PC (and later ported to a number of other platforms), Another World has made a return to gamers on iOS and Android. I decided to plonk a couple of bucks down on it recently to see how is fared.
I should preface this review by saying that I never played the original (though I did play the very-similar-but-not-actually-related game Flashback), so I have no rose-tinted glasses to look through.
It’s a thinking man’s game: All I can say is…they definitely don’t make games like this anymore. The puzzles in Another World are a level above just about everything that’s been released on the current console generation. Some of them are quite frankly brutal, with many of them resulting in death if you mess them up. You’re really going to need to sit and think, not just mindlessly run and shoot things. There’s always a sense of satisfaction when you figure something out, because you knew you needed to work at it.
Classic and Modern: The guys that have ported the game to iOS and Android have made an interesting addition. While they have updated the game’s visuals to look more contemporary, they have also provided an option to switch back to the classic visuals at any time with the press of a button. While you may not want to play the game with 20 year old graphics, it’s nice to appreciate the work that went into bringing it up to date. The new visuals do look spiffy; however the game does still show its age at times, such as with some of the animations.
The Not So Good
Trial and error…and error…and error: As I alluded to above the game holds nothing back when it comes to death. Unless you already know what’s coming, you’ll die a lot in this game. You can only take a single hit from anything, and just about everything that can kill you probably will at least once. Some puzzles are not at all intuitive and can only be solved by attempting to do something, dying, attempting something else, and dying again, until you eventually do something that works. Or doing something, realising you messed it up, then needing to kill yourself to reset the area. Luckily, checkpoints are never far away and allow you to retry as many times as you want.
The who and the what now: Sometimes rules that are established earlier in the game are broken later on, leaving you scratching your head about how you are meant to progress until you realise what was once true no longer is, and said rules no longer apply. Also, despite the fact you’ll be dying a lot and some puzzles will have you running back and forth until you figure out what you’re supposed to be doing, the game is pretty short, and shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours on your first playthrough. Once you know the solutions to the puzzles though you can knock it over much quicker than that (I’ve been told it can be finished quite easily in half an hour).
Control freak: I played the game on my Xperia Play, which of course has physical controls, and I can’t complain at all, the controls were perfect. A mate of mine who played the game purely using a touchscreen device though said “The touch screen controls alternate between perfect and rage inducing”, citing the swipe actions in particular as being the major culprit. Luckily there are only one or two spots in the game where they can really be a problem, but it’s worth pointing out that your experience might be a bit hit and miss.
Another World has held up pretty well despite being 20 years old. The game has a unique cinematic feel to it that was rare back then and even rarer these days, and the new visuals and new platforms help to bring this across to a new audience. Despite some hair pulling moments and some occasional iffy touchscreen controls, you should enjoy your time with Another World. In case the difficulty wasn’t enough for you, there’s a “Hard” and even a “Hardcore” mode to try out if you’re feeling particularly masochistic. At the very least it’s a good way to kill time on a few train trips home from work and you want something with a bit more substance than Angry Birds.