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Old and new collide in Another World - 20th Anniversary

by Wayne Stuckey

Another World - 20th Anniversary definitely feels like a product of the late '80s and early '90s. This is undoubtedly good for those of us who want a stroll down memory lane, and want to feel that strong sense of nostalgia. Is it a good thing for younger gamers? It is very good, as this app will show both how far games have evolved, and how a very good game can still be an immersive experience a full two decades after its initial release.

The story begins with an opening cinematic that shows Lester Chaykin, a young particle physicist working on a project, when a chance thunderstorm rolls in. Lightning strikes at the time of the experiment with explosive results, and you are thrust into the action of Another World. I don't want to say much more about the story, however, you will quickly learn that our young protagonist is also quite athletic.

I found the story in this app to be quite immersive, and one of the ways that it achieves this, is by not holding your hand through the introduction. There is no script, nor dialogue of any kind in this game, and apart from a few quick on-screen instructions for the touch controls, you're on your own. You'll probably die quickly and frequently at first, as you begin to master both the controls and the timing required to solve the game's numerous puzzles. This all fits the story well, however, and just as the hero would feel terribly bewildered at finding himself in a strange land, you also must start from square one as you explore the strange environment.

The story and gameplay is just as you would find in the original iterations of this classic. The graphics have changed a bit from the original game, and have a much smoother and less-pixilated look, while retaining the feel of the original art. I did make use of the double-swipe gesture, which will toggle between the original graphics and the updated ones from time to time. This only helped reinforce how well the original designer did at conveying emotion and meaning through the game with a very limited toolkit.

The one item that I thought did not translate well from the original, was the controls. While it's true that games of this era didn't always have the most responsive controls, it feels worse on the iOS at times, especially in contrast to controls in current games. Both directional pad controls and touch controls suffered a bit from this problem, and it's the one thing I wish could have been improved for this current edition.

Overall, Another World - 20th Anniversary is a very satisfying game. It's great to see how well a classic such as this, can hold up after all this time. I look forward to more great titles from the past being revived in a similar way.

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