Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition Review
Another World is one of those games that seems like less of a game and more of an Important Piece of Video Game History.
Originally called Out of This World when it was released in 1991 in North America, Another World hit a huge number of platforms at the time, ranging from DOS to Amiga to SNES and Sega Genesis. It was something of a watershed moment in gaming, hailed for its cinematic presentation and art style. Playing Another World, you can feel the influence the side-scrolling platformer has had on future games — it feels like the modern video game as we know it, with its emphasis on visuals and its unfolding, highly active storytelling.
With Another World re-released for its 20th anniversary (that was actually two years ago, when it was ported to Apple’s iOS mobile platform) on Steam, a whole new generation of players has a chance to experience Another World and recognize the impact it had on the development of games as a medium. And they should experience it — but they should also know that they’ll probably find it short, frustrating and difficult to control.
Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), iOS, Android
Developer: Eric Chahi, DotEmu
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Released: April 4, 2013
It’s the graphical style that will catch the player’s attention first. Unlike the pixelated sprites that seemed to dominate graphics of the day, Another World relies on vector graphics and flat colors, as well as well-animated character motions — and many of those elements are what made it so intriguing in its day. Though somewhat primitive by today’s standards, the low-fi nature of the animation makes Another World look almost like a piece of art in motion, relying on simple representations of characters and objects to convey a lot.
Also remarkable is the fact that the game manages to create a storytelling experience with almost no dialogue or text at all. The game follows Lester, a scientist whose botched particle accelerator experiment ends up slingshotting him to an alien planet. There, Lester eventually meets up with aliens and goes on the run with his prison break pal referred to on the Internet as “Buddy,” and it’s possible to build something of a relationship with this AI character, even in a game with no dialogue.
Controls for the game remain simple — moving is done with the arrow keys, interactions of various sorts handled by the Space bar. When Lester gets a gun, for example, Space fires it; when he needs to run, holding space allows him to do so. Most of the game has Lester running around, jumping pits and shooting guys, and controlling the game with a keyboard can get a little frustrating. Plugging in a game pad is a lot more intuitive, so the native support is a very useful addition.