On Sunday I predicted that Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition would arrive on Xbox One this week. And what do you know? The Another World Anniversary Edition has just been released as part of Microsoft's ID@Xbox program. It comes from French publisher The Digital Lounge and is available to download for the low price of $7.99.
Another World is a classic sci-fi adventure game/platformer set on a perilous alien world. Players will forge a friendship with a kindly alien while doing their best to escape from the planet's more hostile residents. The 20th Anniversary Edition brings the story to life with new high resolution graphics, multiple soundtracks, and easy Achievements. Adventure fans and Achievement hunters won't want to miss it.
Would you like to swing on a star?
American gamers might know Another World as "Out of This World," as the title was originally changed here in order to avoid confusion with the Another World soap opera. Another World started its life on the Amiga and Atari ST computers before making its way to the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive – and many platforms since.
The original game is special for so many reasons. It was created by a single programmer - Éric Chahi, who went on to create Ubisoft Montpelier's From Dust many years later. The graphics and animation were totally amazing at release, especially for the 16-bit consoles.
The game creates a harsh but believable alien world, with a distinct alien language and absolutely no English dialogue or text to guide players. The lack of guidance creates a genuine sense of discovery in this platform/adventure game.
Stranger in a strange land
Another World stars Lester Knight Chaykin, a physicist whose late-night experiment goes terribly awry. Lester awakens in a strange and hostile alien world where he is beset by tentacled monsters, slugs, and other carnivorous creatures. Soon the planet's sentient aliens capture and imprison Lester along with another alien known as "Buddy." Lester and Buddy must work together to escape the prison complex and their pursuers.
Technically Another World is a platformer. Tapping the A button kicks wile unarmed; hold it to run. Pick up a gun and you can fire single blasts with A. Charging the shot briefly creates a shield, and if you hold it long enough you'll fire a powerful charged blast. The B button jumps, but don't expect much emphasis on platforming. Solving puzzles and figuring out how to survive dangerous enemy encounters are the real meat of the game.
The 20th Anniversary Edition should have allowed some customization of the controls, though. Jumping with B is never intuitive. I get that Another World was originally designed for platforms whose controllers only offered one or two buttons, but there's no reason we shouldn't be able to run with a separate button in this day and age.
The 20th Anniversary Edition of Another World comes with some welcome enhancements to make it more enjoyable for Xbox One players. First and foremost, users can toggle between the original "Low Resolution" graphics and retouched "High Resolution" graphics at any time by pressing the Y button. The new visuals from Chahi himself retain the original flavor while looking much smoother and nicer.
The new version sounds beautiful as well. Players can choose between both Original and Remastered soundtracks. Even better, you can pick the unique Sega CD/Mega CD soundtrack too! Other improvements include three selectable difficulty levels and level select. No need to write down passwords any more.
Finally, Another World offers 12 Achievements worth 1,000 GamerScore. Three of those are secret, but you can find the full list at TrueAchievements. You'll get nearly all for completing normal actions throughout the adventure (including dying 50 times), with a few requiring special actions like discovering the hidden UFO. The chapter select makes it easy to go back for anything you miss.
It will take several hours for first-time players to beat the game, but experienced players (or guide users) can probably knock all 12 Achievements out in less than two hours. So this one's worth a buy even if you just want the GamerScore.
The 20th Anniversary Edition of Another World is a wonderful version of a classic adventure game. I always love it when remakes allow us to toggle between the new and old graphics at will. Another World has always been a beautiful game, and the new HD visuals and sound faithfully enhance that beauty.
Although the length is short compared to other games, it's actually perfect for a game with this level of discovery and challenge. Unless you ruin things with a guide, you'll get plenty of time from solving the various puzzles and battling the threats that stand in your way.
The only thing I could wish for is a true sequel (the Sega CD sequel scarcely counts), but it seems the creator wants to leave the story's conclusion to players' minds. It really is an awe-inspiring adventure.
Xbox One review copy provided by the publisher.
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