It was back during GDC 2011, during Eric Chahi's Classic Game Postmortem presentation, that we first learned that the French gamemaker would be bringing a 20th Anniversary Edition of his acclaimed classic Another World to iOS [App Store] with the help of DotEmu, through BulkyPix. A few days back, I interviewed Chahi and shared his thoughts on the coming App Store release and the iOS game scene in general. Since then, I've been playing through the release version of Another World for iOS and wanted to take the opportunity to post an early review of the title so readers know what they've got to look forward to on the game's September 22nd App Store launch day.

Another World (which was also known as Out of this World in certain markets) is a cinematic platform adventure originally released on the Amiga back in 1991. The game tells the story of physicist Lester Chaykin. As is illustrated in the game's introductory sequence, Lester returns to his underground laboratory one stormy night to continue work on a particle acceleration experiment. Shortly after the experiment is underway, a bolt of lightning strikes the laboratory, sending millions of volts into the accelerator and resulting in the freak teleportation of Lester to a far-away alien planet.

After close run-ins with razor slugs and a particularly intimidating muscular beast, Lester is taken prisoner by the humanoid aliens indigenous to the strange world. With help from a friendly, captive alien, Lester endeavors to escape from the underground prison to which he was taken, a feat which proves to be extremely challenging given the dangerous environments and creatures (and puzzles) that lie ahead.

Reviewing the iOS version of Another World is really a process of reviewing how it has faced translation from the desktop computer of years past to the multitouch devices with which we game, today. It's not so much a task of reviewing the game itself, and that is because, over the years, it has received such consistent exceptionally high ratings from gamers and the media alike. With its rotoscoped polygon-based animation overlying ethereal and stunning backdrop artistry (wrung from a mere 16-color palette), the game was unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. And, crucially, beneath that oh-so-pretty face is real platform puzzle challenge. Many gamers, myself included, consider Another World to be one of the best games ever published.

Far from the 320x200 pixel, 16-color screens of the machines for which Another World was originally released are the Retina displays and 10-inch iPads we've come to enjoy. In bringing the game to iOS, the designers have introduced much more striking "HD" graphics that take advantage of our evolved technology and feel fully present-day. For those wanting to relive the more sparse and pixellated visuals of the original, a two-finger swipe down the screen will toggle in the oldschool graphics at any point in the game. All of the original sounds have been re-mastered, as well, for a deeper sensation of audio ambience.

As for screen swiping, it's not just about toggling graphics modes. The iOS version of the game features two different methods of control. The most basic is an on-screen D-pad and action button that can be positioned anywhere on the screen and works about how you'd expect. The developers spent a great deal of time engineering a much nicer method of control, as well. The "Touch" mode was designed to add virtually no clutter to the game screen. Lester's movements are controlled in this mode by tapping on -- or dragging outwards to -- the left or right side of the display. A double-tap sends him into a sprint, and sliding up or down initiates a jump or a duck. One difficulty the developers faced in engineering this mode was the number of simultaneous actions that Lester can perform, such as running and jumping. To make this work, once Lester is running, a swipe up the screen will send him into a long jump — there's no need to sustain a touch to keep him in motion. The Touch mode is by far the superior method of control. It's simple and succeeds in making the game feel as if it might have been originally written with a touchscreen in mind.

Getting through Another World is not a cakewalk; it's a difficult and challenging game. To mix this up a bit, the iOS version features three difficulty settings. There's Normal mode, which is easier than the original, with simplified movements that make toe-smashing razor slugs, for instance, a pretty fluid affair. Next is the aptly named Hard mode, which is equivalent to the original game. And then there's Hardcore mode for those veteran gamers that feel pretty proud of themselves for having made it through the original already.

The following video shows the entire intro sequence and a few minutes of early gameplay on an iPad 2 at Normal difficulty. The gameplay sequence has been intentionally diced up a bit to prevent spoiling some of the very early puzzles for those new to the game.

As a gamer who's not too proud to admit to having greatly enjoyed but never actually completed Another World, I am excited to have the chance to do so on my favorite game platform. I'm definitely more excited, however, that so many new gamers out there will have the opportunity to get to know this title in such a well-executed translation. And, that's absolutely what the iOS version is. It is immediately evident that a great deal of time and care went into making this 20th Anniversary Edition of Another World such a beautiful fit for the iOS platform, and I consider it to be one of the absolute App Store must haves.

I encourage anyone wanting to learn more of the game's history and early development details to watch Eric Chahi's GDC 2011 presentation Classic Game Postmortem: Another World / Out of this World, hosted at the GDC Vault. We will bring an "it's out" reminder when Another World lands on the 22nd at a price of $4.99.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Anon

    Asphalt 6 is Free!

    • Shamu

      its free because its garbage.

  • Hanerlend

    "As a gamer who's not too proud to admit to having greatly enjoyed but never actually completed Another World"

    Good to hear it's not just me! :)

    • Jon

      Has anyone finished this game? I also thoroughly enjoyed it (multiple times over the years) but never actually beat it...hmm.

      • Nicolas Hognon

        yes I finished on my atari st ....

      • Rothgarr

        I finished it, too. Can't remember if was on my Atari ST or a Mac at the time...

      • http://www.facebook.com/BillKeeter Bill Keeter

        Yes, I believe I beat the game back on my Amiga 500. Course I can't remember the ending now, lol. Guess i'll just have to spend the $5 and give it another spin.

      • Dennis VJ

        I finished when was released for PC .

      • Curtis

        I beat it when I was a kid, It took me a lot of tries on certain areas of the game but I was a determined kid. It was an awesome experience and It had a heart warming ending but didn't explain what happened to Lester lol!  

      • Curtis

        I played the snes version.

  • http://twitter.com/Schvitzing Misty Jugs

    I'll definitely be getting this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ConraDargo Tomas Engström

    I wonder if it'll support the iControlpad like Flashback does... Because that would be 1) really convenient and 2) awesome.

  • Slamraman

    yep, iCade would be terrific too.

  • Mike
  • Amrulez

    Always loved this game, definite first day buy for me. Eric, if you are reading this, we need a proper sequel. This is a no brainer, I can't understand why there is no sequel for this game and in this same style with a bit of 2D advancement that we now have available to us. Same thing goes for Flashback. And yes I know, both of these games have sequels but not by their original creators IIRC. Make a true sequel to this game and make it an iOS and PSN/LIVE game and profit.

  • http://twitter.com/AltX010 Jase Wayne

    I remember finishing this twice when it first came out. an awesome game. but bought mobile version for symbian years ago.

  • http://twitter.com/stuartcarnie Stuart Carnie

    Looks fantastic, can't wait to play!

  • Bounce

    There was a sequel for a console(genesis??). But i think eric chahi was not really involved). But it continued the story and was ok. Its called heart of the alien.

  • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

    I am acquainted with Eric Shepherd from the Apple II and Firefox community. He is friends with Becky Heineman, legendary Apple II developer and author of the Apple IIgs port of Out of this World. They had dinner the other night and Eric mentioned this piece, and it got them to talking about the GS version written quite a while back and how it was basically a proof of concept for the SNES version (SNES featuring the same 65C816 CPU as the IIgs). 

    Sounds like quite an interesting port, that. I've had it on my IIgs for a while now. It works well, but is just a little nicer under acceleration. :-)

    Thought I'd share.

    http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/out-of-this-world

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing :)  I was a big fan of the Apple ][gs version myself.

      In fact, I wish the iOS port had an option to use the Apple ][gs cinematic music that went with the game..  It's interesting how different versions of the game had different musical scores (or none at all), and different backgrounds...

  • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

    I am acquainted with Eric Shepherd from the Apple II and Firefox community. He is friends with Becky Heineman, legendary Apple II developer and author of the Apple IIgs port of Out of this World. They had dinner the other night and Eric mentioned this piece, and it got them to talking about the GS version written quite a while back and how it was basically a proof of concept for the SNES version (SNES featuring the same 65C816 CPU as the IIgs). 

    Sounds like quite an interesting port, that. I've had it on my IIgs for a while now. It works well, but is just a little nicer under acceleration. :-)

    Thought I'd share.

    http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/out-of-this-world

  • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

    I am acquainted with Eric Shepherd from the Apple II and Firefox community. He is friends with Becky Heineman, legendary Apple II developer and author of the Apple IIgs port of Out of this World. They had dinner the other night and Eric mentioned this piece, and it got them to talking about the GS version written quite a while back and how it was basically a proof of concept for the SNES version (SNES featuring the same 65C816 CPU as the IIgs). 

    Sounds like quite an interesting port, that. I've had it on my IIgs for a while now. It works well, but is just a little nicer under acceleration. :-)

    Thought I'd share.

    http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/out-of-this-world

  • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

    I am acquainted with Eric Shepherd from the Apple II and Firefox community. He is friends with Becky Heineman, legendary Apple II developer and author of the Apple IIgs port of Out of this World. They had dinner the other night and Eric mentioned this piece, and it got them to talking about the GS version written quite a while back and how it was basically a proof of concept for the SNES version (SNES featuring the same 65C816 CPU as the IIgs). 

    Sounds like quite an interesting port, that. I've had it on my IIgs for a while now. It works well, but is just a little nicer under acceleration. :-)

    Thought I'd share.

    http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/out-of-this-world

  • Anonymous

    This is gonna be so great! Count me in

  • Anonymous

    Different idea its looking good just now saw the trailer of this game.

  • Anonymous

    That's pretty awesome, I'd love to see it on my iPad. Only problem is that I paid for the HD PC version when it first came out and never got my game, so I'm kind of put off of sending any more money. :(

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  • Anonymous

    Excellent game!

Another World - 20th Anniversary Reviewed by Blake Patterson on . Rating: 5