Another World 20th Anniversary Edition
iGamer It's one of gaming's longest enduring and most profound existential questions. Twenty years and as many platforms later, Another World - aka Out of this World in the US -remains as enigmatic as ever, surviving even creator Eric Chahi's own fascinating personal deconstruction of his work at this year's Game Developers Conference.
With only minor graphical improvements and some niggling control issues, the 20th Anniversary iOS edition might not rank as the definitive version – that accolade still rests with the 15th Anniversary PC edition.
Wot no polygon textures?
But thanks to its distinctive visuals, idiosyncratic gameplay and hauntingly evocative fiction, Another World feels as visionary today on iPhone or iPad as it did on the Amiga way back in 1991.
Even when considered alongside the advancements of the past 20 years, the platform puzzler still ranks up there as one of gaming's most innovative titles. Its ability to charm and infuriate in equal measure is as potent in its first playthrough as in its one hundredth.
AW's animation was painstakingly rotoscoped
Thanks largely to its reticence, the story feels timeless too. You play Lester, the flame-haired, Ferrari-driving physicist teleported to a hostile alien world when his particle accelerator is hit by lightning.
To help you survive, you must rely on your wits, a blaster and occasional help from a friendly alien called Buddy. But with no further exposition or interface to guide you, your truest friend here is gaming's most conventional foe: death.
The fuzziness of touch control doesn't sit well with AW's pixel-precise death detection
Like its spiritual successors Limbo and Demon's Souls, Another World reveals itself through failure. Twitch platforming is the only skill required to survive its pitfalls, trial and error the only logic to solve its esoteric puzzles.
Another World, another era
Unfortunately, the port onto the iDevices only exacerbates the already exacting challenge. There's little to choose between new touchscreen controls and the optional on-screen gamepad configuration - both lacking the responsiveness required by the game's 20-year-old pixel-width collision system.
The graphics have been tweaked a little, 20 year on
So while it's theoretically possible to complete the game in around an hour, even seasoned players familiar with its puzzles will find themselves dying at least a dozen times.
New players may also be deterred by the game's arbitrary checkpointing, which often compounds the difficulty by forcing you to replay several sections leading up to the point of death. It's a system that betrays Another World as a game of yesteryear, one whose punitive gameplay will be alien to many younger gamers mollycoddled by today's more forgiving, casual fare.
Your blaster is your friend.
Most of the time. Some of the time.
The game may also struggle to attract a new audience through its visuals. It remains striking, thanks to its minimalist palette and rotoscope animations, but it's a shame the developers opted for minor tweaks rather than a complete graphical overhaul.
A few additions to background planes, brighter visuals and a dash of anti-aliasing mean Another World has never looked as good as it does on a "retina" screen, but it still looks decidedly geriatric beside modern iOS titles, such as Infinity Blade and Dead Space.
Can I have my face back, please?
And the graphical tweaks do little to justify the £3 price tag, especially given that most retro gamers will already have access to the original through emulators.
But whether you're visiting Another World for the first or one hundredth time, Eric Chahi's classic platform-puzzler remains a truly beguiling experience. ®
iGamer covers the best in mobile gaming, from Android to iPad, every other Wednesday. If you think there's a great game we really should cover, please let us know.
Reg Rating 70%