Of all the games I've ever had to review, this is probably the hardest. After all, there was a lot wrong with Eric Chahi's ancient epic when it released 20 years ago.
Another World is really short. Incredibly frustrating. Needlessly oblique. And an unassailable classic. Hmm. This is going to be a tough one.
After Professor Lester Knight Chaykin embarks on a dangerous experiment, he finds himself ripped across time and space into (you guessed it) another world. He'll need to survive the hostile wildlife, escape from a prison camp and eventually make his way back to Earth, using nothing but a pathetic jump, a stolen laser pistol and the aid of one of the oppressed locals.
What follows is fairly standard action platforming fare (jumping over pits, shooting guards, exploring and dying a lot) - interspersed by some absolutely incredible set pieces. You'll defend your alien compatriot from attack as he secures your escape by erecting shields and duelling oncoming guards. You'll sprint away from slavering beasts and narrowly leap to safety. Another World is incredibly cinematic and managed to convey a sense of drama and pace that its FMV-packed competitors failed to deliver. It thoroughly blew my mind back on the Amiga (despite its inappropriately retouched music).
Unfortunately, this is where the rose tinted specs have to come off. Another World is completely based on trial and error; hiding its incredibly short length behind an outrageous level of difficulty. Enemies can shoot you from offscreen. Puzzle solutions are incredibly vague. Backtracking is rife. Anything that can kill you will do so in one hit - and the Professor's shambling movement speed makes him a prime target. Coupled with poor checkpointing and a complete lack of signposting, I'm afraid that it's a complete chore rather than a retro delight.
Hate mail to the usual address.
A fair bit of this frustration will doubtlessly stem from the controls, which are a little wonky to say the least. The standard control scheme uses a selection of taps and finger swipes rather than rigid onscreen icons; improving immersion but frequently failing to register. Conversely, the standard virtual D-Pad is a bit small and finicky to use properly.
Luckily the overhauled graphics help to put the smile back on your face. The original was incredibly stylish (and looks exceptionally fluid even today), with the ability to switch between the 20 year old visuals and the slick new hotness. It's a neat feature that hammers home that visual design isn't just about cutting edge graphics - it's about imaginative art design too.
- A great new way to play a piece of gaming history
- Some great set pieces
- Excellent graphical overhaul
- Miserably, painfully, needlessly, hideously frustrating
- Wonky controls
Summary: Another World is as beautiful, miserable and vexing as it was 20 years ago. Nostalgia junkies will go nuts - and it's well worth a download - but newcomers will probably wonder why we got so excited about it in the first place.
Hurry up and revamp Flashback already!
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Price: £2.99 - App Store