iPad Game Review: Another World: 20th Anniversary for iPad Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Another World is a side-scrolling arcade adventure that places you in the role of a scientist who finds himself alone on an alien world. In it, you will solve puzzles, test your reflexes.
Another World is an iOS remake of what is widely considered to be a gaming masterpiece of 1991. Originally released on the Amiga, it distinguished itself with its unforgiving puzzles, fluid animation and beautiful cinematography. While the last two donít hold up particularly well compared to the production values of contemporary video games, the puzzles are still quite challenging, bordering on maddening.
Your first challenge in Another World is to master the controls. There are two methods of input available; a virtual D-Pad and Touch. Both work quite well as long as you bear in mind that the game is true to its roots in another important area: sluggish controls. Having played the original back in the day, I had no problem dealing with the lack of responsiveness because, well, thatís how games were back then, you young whippersnappers. When I gave it to my 10-year old son, however, he didnít particularly enjoy watching his on-screen character repeatedly die of razor slug attack at the second screen simply because he didnít initiate a jump at the exact right moment. Instead, I watched wide-eyed as he repeatedly stabbed his finger at my iPad before ultimately declaring that there was something wrong with the controls and handing it back to me. Retro gamers will feel right at home, however, newbie gamers: beware.
Almost every screen will present a deadly puzzle that must be solved with trial and error. Yes, I did, in fact, use the words ďdeadlyĒ and ďtrial and errorĒ in the same sentence. The result of this unholy union is death; Repeated and frequent death. Fortunately, the game incorporates checkpoints, all of which can be accessed at any time in from the main menu. While the puzzles are frequently (and comically) deadly, they are not punishingly difficult. There are three difficulty levels, which will be good news for those of you who are struggling with the game. The bad news, however, is that the game starts you off on the easiest setting (called: Normal) so youíve really got nowhere to go but up. Lastly, Another World fully supports Game Center Achievements.
Another World features two graphic modes: Regular and HD. Keep in mind, however, that even the HD graphics are decidedly retro and amount to more of a graphical tweak than a full facelift. The original graphics are pretty pixilated and chunky for obvious reasons. However, for those of us who played the original, they are like coming home (to a really pixilated, chunky home). One nice little feature is the ability to switch between graphic modes on the fly by swiping downward on the screen with two fingers. Another World also supports screen rotation. While this isnít a big deal to some, for those of us who use a portfolio type iPad case, it can be a deal breaker.
The music and sound effects in Another World have been completely remastered and are both first-rate. There is no way adjust the volume of either independently, but that isnít really surprising because both are such an integral part of the game. Try it with headphones for a completely immersive experience.
Another World is a brutally difficult side-scrolling adventure game that has been resurrected from 1991. If you remember the original fondly, youíre in for a treat. If you donít mind taking the time to grow accustomed to what may seem initially like sluggish controls, you are also in for a treat. If you donít like watching your on-screen persona repeatedly die a grisly death, or if you canít get past the retro controls, you may want to look elsewhere for your arcade/adventure goodness.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - Even the HD graphics will look retro to the untrained eye. Sound: - 5 - Moody, immersive soundtrack and high quality sound effects. Controls: - 2 - The D-Pad and Touch interfaces work very well. Unfortunately, both are faithfully sluggish compared to modern games. Gameplay: - 4 - Clever puzzles and engaging story nestled gently within a brutally unforgiving game.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Stick to Normal difficulty unless you are feeling cocky or masochistic. Each new screen will present a new way to die. Take a few moments before moving to assess as many details as you can before acting. Surviving a puzzle on the first try will feel exhilarating precisely because it will happen so rarely.