It was an Amiga 500 that preceded a Game Boy as my early introduction into the world of video games, a surprise purchase that my Dad unravelled after school one evening. My staple interest from that point revolving around Amiga Format demo disks, Big Nose the Caveman, The Secret of Monkey Island, Soccer Kid and Beneath a Steel Sky, swaying me away from conjuring such worlds with my imagination through reading.
Another World was one such adventure, released as Out of This World in North America, although one that I had only read about rather than experience for myself until now. Éric Chahi’s creation was actually released in 1991, so this 20th Anniversary Edition, originally developed for iOS, has allowed us to arrive somewhat late to the party.
This cinematic tale traces the journey of genius physicist Lester Knight Chaykin, who we initially find experimenting with a particle accelerator while trying to replicate how the universe was created. When his laboratory is inadvertently struck by lightning, the experiment goes awry and Lester is suddenly teleported to an alien planet. Alone and in a world completely unknown to him, he must fend for his survival – and that’s precisely where the player comes in.
Controls are largely simple, seeing you direct Lester’s movement and employ the use of a laser gun when eventually secured. Although, Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition is a game that leverages challenge by design, the player navigating their way through individual scenes where their reflexes and puzzle solving skills to the test. For instance, angering an indigenous beast early on requires you to flee across multiple screens to leap toward an overhanging vine, leaving the ravenous animal to fall to its untimely demise.
Such situations only become more complex as your progress, and it is this trial-and-error element that allows Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition to remain just as refreshing as it was those many years ago. You will die on numerous occasion, but regular checkpoints ensure that this never becomes too much of a frustration.
Pressing the Y button will allow you to select between either the original 1991 graphics or the 20th Anniversary Edition’s visual upgrades. This smoothens out the aesthetic and adds additional detail to the surrounding environments that you wander through, although it all continues to feel rather minimalistic in style. Whereas the accompanying soundtrack composed by Jean-François Freitas remains just as atmospheric, with players able to choose to hear it as it originally sounded, with added CD Console music, or entirely remastered.
Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition is enjoyable while it lasts, although that regrettably isn’t for long. Those returning for a re-run to scratch their nostalgia itch can best the game in an hour near enough, while speedruns have seen players reach the game’s conclusion in under 20 minutes. Newcomers that avoid walkthroughs will naturally spend more time before being greeted by the game’s credits, but there’s nothing to occupy yourself with beyond completion which comes as a disappointment. Even the inclusion of a developer commentary would have been welcomed, adding further insight into the game’s original vision.
Another World was broadly seen by critics to be incredibly forward-thinking for its time, and Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition presents a welcome opportunity to captivate those yet to experience it. Short that it may be, this is one adventure that everyone should partake in.