Another World, they tell me, is a true-blue gaming classic. A game that inspired many games that followed its 1991 release on the SNES and Amiga, bringing with it a style of animation that had never been seen before in a video game. Known back in the day for being rock hard, beautiful and evocative all at once, I was rather excited to experience the game.
Released on April 4th to very little fanfare, so I wouldn’t blame you for not having known about Another World until now. I have to admit to having not played it first time around, with this being my first playthrough of the game. The version we have here is exactly as long time players will remember it, though, with the updated graphics switchable to original mode with the touch of the button. The PC version supports mouse and keyboard play as well as a standard gamepad.
In Another World you play as physicist Lester Knight Chaykin, who at the start of the game has an accident with his particle accelerator experiment and is sucked into an alternate dimension. Lester wakes up in a pool of water, with your first task as the player being to guide him to the surface, and thus the start of the game proper. Another World is described as a puzzle-platformer, but it’s really far more puzzler than platformer in the traditional sense. Indeed, it has more in common with the early adventure games from the 90s that it shared shelf space with back when it was first released, with the game being packed full of head scratching moments that will leave you reaching for the nearest internet FAQ or YouTube video.
As a newcomer to Another World, I died a lot. The world Lester has been taken to is a harsh and unforgiving place, his only abilities being a rather meek effort at a jump and a kick. Lester can also use weapons that he gathers from aliens in the game, most of whom want you dead. You guide Lester from left to right, all the while fighting for survival. Lester comes across obstacles and enemies that feel very familiar, since so many game designers pay homage to Another World when quoting their gaming inspirations. Lester is a very fragile fellow, with a single bite from one of the world’s tooled up ground worms being enough to bring your game to an end. You will probably try and tackle the game as I did at first: SPEED RUN! But speed running doesn’t work, and it will get you killed. Strategy is the name of the game here. Oh, and trial and error. And ringing your mate who played it in 1995. Yes, phone a friend, actually.
Being the 20th anniversary edition of the game, Another World comes packing an updated look that stays respectful of the original game. Its minimalist look does a brilliant job of bringing a feeling of wonder and intrigue to its wonderfully baron, alien environments. Bleak and haunting, I found myself just staring at the screen at times, taking the scenery in.
In terms of longevity, as a newcomer it took me a while to get through Another World. Being full of frustrating, head scratching moments, I often had to put it down and come back to it at another time. The eureka moments are satisfying, however, so I encourage you to work through it on your own before reaching for the nearest walkthrough.
VERDICT: I’m glad I took the time to play Another World. Not because it opened my eyes to a whole new way of gaming, but because it gave me a look at modern gaming’s routes. Its lovingly handled visuals and rotoscoped animation hold up well. Gameplay wise, younger gamers may struggle to get to grips with Another World’s hard as nails puzzles and deadly enemies. A must for those with fond memories of 1991, and a treat for those willing to get in touch with gaming history.
GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.