What strikes you now is how sophisticated the game’s blend of platforming, shooting and puzzle-solving was for the time. Another World isn’t a game of quick reactions, it’s a game of finding ways to deal with obstacles, whether that obstacle is a path made fatally slippery by water, an alien monster buried in the ground or a burly alien guard with a laser pistol. Pools of water must be drained from rocky caverns into wells, guards must be outwitted with doors, shields and falling chandeliers, and you’ll need all three functions of your triple-function laser pistol to get through. There are even elements that require cooperation between you and a friendly fellow escapee. Even now, it’s fantastic stuff.
But the simple fact is that we can’t go all misty-eyed about how wonderful Another World is without mentioning its failings – the vast majority of which can be put down to the age of the underlying game. Another World is hard, and not in the hard-but-fair way of, say, Demon’s Souls either. The fact is that most of the time you’ll only come across an obstacle and realise it’s an obstacle by dying, which makes the whole game a soft of fatal trial-and-error effort.
This in itself needn't be so annoying, but checkpointing can be sporadic, and there are times when the game gives you multiple avenues to explore, but only checkpoints your progress when you pick the one it has in mind. As a result, you can find yourself spending ten minutes working on a single sequence of gun-blasts, runs and precision blasts, only to crack it, walk into the wrong room and find yourself dead. Before you can finish cursing, you’re back to square one.
In short, playing Another World can be a bit like training yourself in the precise sequence of moves and activities required to complete each sequence, and there’s no shortage of insta-death in the game, whether it’s death by laser blast, strangling tentacles or sneaky, floor-dwelling jaws. Plus the controls – in true old-school style – aren’t instantly and immediately responsive. You almost have to pre-program each jump and blast, getting the timing right down to a fraction of a second. If you thought the first Prince of Persia was hard, then this will show you exactly what hard really means.
This difficulty level isn’t disastrous for those of us who relish a bit of a challenge, but it does turn a must-have iPad game into one that those without such perseverance should avoid. Of course, without the high difficulty level the whole thing would be over in a couple of hours, but you’re still left wishing a slightly better balance had been struck.
This HD remake of Another World is a must for anyone with an interest in video game evolution, and with its unique style, rich gameplay and distinctive atmosphere it’s more than just a historical curio. If only it weren't such a harsh and unforgiving world to explore...