Game of the Week (1/28/18) – Out of This World

Out of This World, or as it’s known elsewhere around the planet as either Another World or Outer World, was originally developed by Delphine Software for the Amiga and Atari ST computers in 1991. It was eventually ported to a number of home consoles in 1992 and 1993 such as the SNES, Genesis & Sega CD (as Heart of the Alien). However, the only home console version I own is the one released for the 3DO.

Ported to the 3DO by Interplay, Out of This World opens with a cinematic cutscene showing the game’s protagonist, Lester, who is a young scientist in the year 1997 that is working on a particle accelerator. Thanks to a bolt of lightning from an electrical storm that hits the laboratory Lester is working in, he is transported via the particle accelerator machine to an unnamed alien planet. The game begins in earnest with Lester being dumped into a pool of water and if you have no idea how to play the game, you’ll likely think this scene is simply an extension of the opening cutscene. You’ll quickly find out that isn’t the case if you don’t press up on the control pad to swim to the top of the pool. Lester will sink and is killed by some living sea plants. 5 seconds into the game and you’re game is over. This can be jarring for first time players but that’s what Out of This World is all about, trial and error. The next rookie mistake I made after exiting the pool is when I started walking to the right, I didn’t see these small black worm-blobs moving on the ground. I stepped on one and a cutscene showing it rearing up and stabbing my leg with a fang of some sort, which must have been poisonous as I immediately died. Game over again. This gameplay style continues on as you quickly learn, Lester cannot take any damage from any of the alien creatures or environmental hazards present in the game. This requires precise actions, puzzle solving and decision making with a little bit of luck.

Early on, Lester can run, jump and kick at enemies and he’ll eventually procure a much needed gun as well as an alien ally. The goal of the game, beyond simply surviving, is to escape this hostile alien planet and find a way back home. Out of This World was one of the original games that came with my 3DO when I bought it a decade and a half ago. After trying the game out and realizing it wasn’t your typical platformer, I quickly became frustrated with the style of play. I am pretty good at your standard platformers but Out of This World is not as forgiving as a standard platformer so you’ll likely find yourself repeating actions over and over and over again until you master it. This takes a lot of patience because there’s two aspects of the game that must be considered. The problem solving aspect, then the technical platforming aspect. Just figuring out what you need to do can become frustratingly repetitive and then once you do figure out what to do, performing that action flawlessly (remember, no damage can be taken) makes the game seem daunting. At least with the 3DO version, you are given passwords that can be used to re-start the game after a checkpoint has been reached otherwise Out of This World might be unplayable.

Out of This World certainly has a lot of good things going for it. Its innovative, addictive and the controls are pretty good. The graphic style and cutscenes make the game feel like a playable animated film, but it definitely has a dated look to it. I think this game is a neat relic from the early 90s and worth playing if for no other reason than to determine if this style of game is or isn’t for you.

Rating: B

Currently in my collection: game, manual, box

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