winnipegfats's Out of This World (PC) review

A true classic that stands the test of time

Eric Chahi's Another World (Out of this World in the US) is over 20 years old now but the HD version looks good enough and the game has always played well enough that even without the benefit of nostalgia, the game is fun, interesting, challenging and an incredible example of wordless storytelling that even today escapes most games.

The story unfolds entirely through gameplay. The only voice or text work is either in the opening sequence where information is conveyed entirely through a couple sentences shown on "Lester's" computer screen. The character officially is never given a name in-game, and the only communication otherwise is between "Buddy" your alien cellmate and Lester and is done entirely through Buddy's grunting language that the player has no way of understanding and simple pantomimes from the 2d character model. Even without long dialogues or extensive voice acting, a bond becomes apparent to the player between Lester and Buddy that makes you actually care about these two and root for their escape - beyond the normal motivation of "player working toward success."

Another World asks the player to solve some puzzles through a combination of direct combat with a laser pistol, using the environment to avoid combat, and some platforming. Lester does not control like a super hero, he has a half-hearted kick at the beginning of the game and his 180 degree turn seems to be pretty wide at times, but the game is not about blasting your way through alien hordes, nor is it about precision jumping. It's more of a balance between when to proceed with caution, knowing the animations and how far they will take you, and when to step on the gas. Some puzzles are solved across areas of the game, and not in the same room as the obstacle you are trying to overcome.

The combat is done mainly with the laser pistol. It's three "modes" of fire will again depend on the speed you need to move at to defeat the enemies in front of you. Do you charge and shoot before they can react, or do you have the time and the ammo to drop several shields and bomb your opponents' shields down to create that opening? Another World will challenge you to quickly read scenarios and react accordingly, or die several times to teach you the right path.

**In the interests of full disclosure, I played this game when it was new and had to overcome the copy protection with the included code wheel, so there is definitely some nostalgia at play. In order to test for bias, I sat a friend who had never played it down in front of my pc and let him play through it with minimal guidance from me, and he supported my assertion that this would be welcomed as an indie new release if it came out today. When viewed through the lens of a 20+ year old game, the achievement seems all the more impressive.

At the end of the day, I am saying you should be buying Another World on any of the seemingly endless platforms on which it exists. I have played it on everything from my 486 to my SNES to my iPhone and iPad and most recently on my desktop PC with an Xbox 360 controller, and every version of the game plays great and any of them would be a worthy purchase.

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