Éric Chahi's 1991 Commodore Amiga masterpiece has been ported to every system that could possibly run the game. After the 20th Anniversary Edition made the successful jump to both Wii U and 3DS, Lester has now been conveniently teleported onto the Switch. But is this Another World too far?
It could happen to any genius physicist. One moment you’re colliding molecules at high speed attempting to produce antimatter, the next lightning strikes and a sizeable chunk of the lab is teleported underwater. Barely managing to escape death by drowning and tentacles, you swim up to the surface and discover a very different sky above. Assuming you don’t get too familiar with local slug wildlife, you will live just enough to be chased by what can best be described as your worse four-legged nightmare before being ‘rescued’ by a couple of humanoid creatures that are definitely not human.
Once the prologue is done, you are incarcerated with a far more friendly local fellow and you soon realise you will need each other if you want to have any chance to pull off a daring escape. Once you grab a fancy local pistol, you’re set to go on your otherworldly adventure. There was nothing quite like it back in 1991 with its unique rotoscoped polygons giving the game a truly alien feel. Even today you can find its influence conveying story without dialogue in titles such as the recent Switch release of Inside.
In case you are wondering: yes, this Switch release is the exact same one published back in 2014 for the Wii U. That equals the same fancy extras the 20th Anniversary Edition offered, like the ability to tap ‘Y’ at any time to switch between the original low-resolution graphics of the HD enhanced backgrounds and smooth polygons. There are three difficulty settings to choose from and you can also elect to play with the original audio, the new enhanced audio or a curious mix of the original sound effects with audio CD music that was used in the CD-Rom version of the game. However, considering we've been recently spoiled with a far superior offering of extras included with Flashback (the rewind feature springs to mind), this one feels a little spartan in comparison.
Minimalist is, however, one of Another World’s greatest strengths and as such the same incredible adventure (albeit a rather short one if you know what you’re supposed to do) is still very much worth taking. Despite a few brain teasers here and there, most of the time Lester will have to use his physical parkour abilities rather than his brain to get safely from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ and managing the three firing modes on his alien pistol. Trial and error are the order of the day so be prepared for several treks back to your most recent checkpoint after some poorly timed jumps, lethal drops or deaths by laser.
It's unfortunate that, once again, the opportunity to play out the whole story remains unaccounted. Despite being a fantastic journey, the game ends halfway, with the same ambiguous ending that made us scratch our heads back in 1991 greeting us once more and no mention of the Mega CD-exclusive sequel Another World: Heart of the Alien nowhere to be found in this package. We would have loved to have the opportunity to play out the rest of the story with the same polish given to the original adventure, but sadly the opportunity to do so is once again completely ignored.
Another World on Switch is identical to the package that was released on the Wii U back in 2014, which translates to being the same ultimate version of Éric Chahi’s 1991 classic. While there aren't that many luxuries or quality of life updates, you won't be disappointed playing out Lester’s unfortunate accidental voyage to another world. If you've somehow managed to go this long without experiencing this seminal title, then there's never been a better time to pick it up.