Another World (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 26.07.2018

Review for Another World on Nintendo Switch

In 1991, Eric Chahi created what might have been one of the most influential games ever designed. At best, his creation could have been compared to Jordan Mechner's Prince of Persia, which came out a few years earlier, but beneath the obvious comparisons, Another World really was in a league all its own. Like how Alone in the Dark might have been the progenitor of survival-horror, but was popularised and perfected by Resident Evil, Another World perfected the step-based cinematic-platformer. Being about almost a quarter of a century old at this point and having been ported to over 20 platforms at the point of this review (including the 20th Anniversary versions on 3DS and Wii U), does Another World stand the test of time? Is this latest Switch port the definitive way to journey the surreal alien landscapes? Cubed3 becomes Lester Knight...

Another World, or Out of this World, was a cult hit back in the day when it came out. It pushed the envelope with visual storytelling in videogames by relying entirely on visuals and extensive use of rotoscoped animation. At the time, the idea of cut-scenes was extremely novel and a big deal. This was something relegated to games that were on a CD-Rom, yet here comes along Eric Chahi's Another World running on most platforms available in the early 1990s. Over 20 years later, the charm is still there. Most of it works thanks to the lack of overbearing exposition and an enhanced mood that is attributed to the stark soundtrack.

The premise is simple: Lester Knight is a physicist of some kind (possibly building a hadron collider) and during a routine experiment a glitch causes him to be transported to another world. It is a strange alien landscape festooned with deadly predators, traps, and a race of beefy guys in black underwear who run the place. The first moment of actual gameplay puts Lester in extreme danger and, from there on out, everything wants him dead... except for the one inmate alien that can open doors. Another World rarely lets up and is constantly pitting higher and higher stakes against the player that can sometimes border on trial and error. This was a game from a different time when things were designed to prevent people from beating the game in their first try, or in a day. Only by playing Another World several times, dying a lot, and memorising the puzzles will yield a complete session that can clock in at about two hours.

Screenshot for Another World on Nintendo Switch

For some people, the idea of a very linear adventure platformer that is short may not be appealing. It is a combination of things that make up the sum of Another World and why it holds up. The way Lester controls and how he animates in conjunction with the sound design gives the game a very satisfying feeling. Traversing the settings and alien fortress holds many picturesque sights that are immaculately framed, each one either a transitional screen or a puzzle to solve. Checkpoints are far enough to punish the right amount and also close enough to not frustrate - if anything, they are more like chapter breaks within the story. For those who may find the original difficulty too spicy, this remaster has an easy mode that scales back on how many shootouts Lester will get involved with. Enemy accuracy is reduced and there are fewer deadly creatures that can cause a restart.

Playing on Nintendo Switch, Another World runs about as well as it possibly could. The graphics can be toggled between the remastered and retro graphics at any moment, and this port supports all soundtrack options. Anyone who wants to get an authentic experience would be better off playing with the classic graphics that Chahi himself crafted and animated. The remastered mode does pack in more detail, but there is something really off about seeing this with sharp vector graphics. It makes the art look like a cheap Flash animation, losing much of the grit and atmosphere. This is from the '90s and it should look like it, not like a browser game from the 2000s. Being that this has been refined and remastered, there have been major technical improvements over the original release. Anyone who grew up playing this on the Super Nintendo would recall that this was one of the few cartridge games that actually had load times. On the Switch, there are no load times between areas at all. Lester controls much more fluidly and responsively than he did back in the day, as well, and now there are various difficulty modes to choose from.

Screenshot for Another World on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Is Another World a perfect adventure platformer? Who knows! It is, however, the best example of its kind and has served as a blueprint for any designer who has every considered to make a cinematic style game. Chahi was able to convey so much information with so little and he did it by reducing elements that were frivolous and got all the mileage possible from his premise. There is never a moment wasted, not a single instance of filler, and everything moves at a brisk pace, which keeps the adventure exciting from beginning to end. Figures like Hideo Kojima, Suda Goichi, and Fumito Ueda have always been vocal about how Another World inspired them in their own storytelling techniques; it is apparent when playing it. This is adventure gaming distilled down to its most essential elements, compounded with a healthy challenge and atmosphere like no other.

Developer

The Digital Lounge

Publisher

DotEmu

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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