Artsy masterpiece. This one is really special folks.
Truly an "art house" game if there ever was one, Out of this World is one of those rare gems that make you somehow proud of being a computer gamer, I mean... geez, what a game!
Well, actually, what an odd game! Loaned to me as a "sci-fi" Prince of Persia, this game belongs to an era when the technical constraints seriously limited the creative capabilities of the designers. Thus they had to work around that, and in that way ended giving us much better content than if they had free rein. Much like in the late golden era of Hollywood, when the use of the Hays code of censorship meant that the filmmakers had to insinuate all they couldn't say out loud, and generally work out the holes of the system and "smart it out". It is a pretty general conception that the main bulk of movies made in that period where much better than the loads of crap the studios started churning once the code was removed, and in fact, people like Hitchcock made their best movies in that period... I guess for all the problems they cause challenges bring the best in each one eventually, right? And that's exactly what challenges brought to this era of gaming and particularly to this game.
Want to see how to tell a really touching story about friendship when no voice overs, pre-rendered cutscenes or award-winning script writers are around? Play this game.
Want to see how to develop an engrossing gameplay experience relying only on 6 keys, no inventory, no health indicators, no nothing? Play this game.
Want to see how one can be transported to a truly alien world using nothing but what seems to be different shades of blue, and an early generation soundtrack? Play this game.
Want to bla, bla , bla... Etc, etc, etc? Play this game. Probably no other game screams so subtly the real power behind videogames. The real power to convey emotions that never sink to cheapness, to entertain with an actual content, to be so much a masterpiece of imagination as to ignite a spark that rivals a book's literary prowess (and mind you, I am most certainly NOT one of those fools that scream how videogames can be as good as any work of literature and the only thing they have ever read are Superman comics).
I don't think I can objectively write anything in here. Out of this World was a real shock to me when I first played it as a kid. I had pretty much no idea what I was getting into, and it was only as the years went by that I fully grasped it and replayed it several times. I am still amazed at how still at that time, expecting to end the game jumping over some monster's head 3 times, or shoot some baddie in the ass I found myself mulling over the ending and even tough I couldn't grasp it all, I still thought to myself "Damn, this is special". Out of this World is one of the games that shaped my view of the videogame world, one of the few that showed me that you could take the same thing that gave you Mario, but make it into something much, much more engrossing (mind you, I am well aware that many games before and after did this, but at the time they were pretty obscure to me, and the few that were around really crossed the line for a kid my age. I mean, sure Wasteland came out earier, and was as mature (in the content-wise meaning of it) as Out of This World is, but I didn't give a flying fuck about realistic roleplaying, text parsers, or crap like that at that age! Say what you will of it, but Out of This World really grabbed me even then. It's a part of me by now. I can't really say anything bad about it.
... Tough on retrospect Lester really had a pretty gay name.... :))
The Bottom Line
Some people have Mario, I guess I have Out of This World. It takes a special game to brand someone like that, and this game does just that, it comes to you with the promise of being just another platformer, and it leaves much, much more.
Get it. Now.
Hmmm... Wait a sec. I see now as I re-read this thing that I've done what I always hate when someone else does it: I waxed poetry and touchy-feely crap and I didn't really tell you why the game rules so! Ok, sorry for that, here it is:
Superb gameplay that combines simple yet silky smooth controls with excellent visual coordination and deduction puzzles. Incredible graphics with the best animation this side of Prince of Persia (and all done without any Hollywood stuntman wearing pin-pong balls) and a striking graphic design filled with jagged edges, weird formations and all sort of cool expressionist stuff, great sound and a remarkably touching story with one of the best endings in the history of videogames.
That's about it! Now go!