Platformers are some of the simplest games around, but also some of the most difficult to get right. Super Mario Bros. nailed the physics and level design, Super Meat Boy nailed the more hardcore form of platformer and Fez added a great puzzle element into the genre, as well as creating an incredibly relaxing game. Yet Another World attempts to create a strange hybrid of Super Meat Boy and Fez, bringing a relaxing style to a more hardcore, puzzle-platform experience.
Unfortunately, as you might expect, ‘relaxing’ and ‘hardcore’ do not mix. The music does its best to soothe the player and it’s very good too, in fact the entire sound design of the game is impressive. Collecting ‘O-rings’ (more on those in a moment) produces a pleasantly soft tone, adding to the relaxing sound of the game as a whole. But the sound is the only thing relaxing about Energy Milk’s game.
Starting the game, the simple 2D visuals are both cute and minimalist. The hero, a block with eyes, has his cows stolen while he sleeps, then you’ll spend the rest of the game attempting to get them back. You do this largely by collecting the O-rings mentioned earlier, with each level containing ten of them, but only three are required to unlock the next level. Levels are filled with traps, mainly blocks that fall and crush the poor hero, and spikes that impale him, with each death leaving behind one of your collected O-rings. And death will find you often. Like Meat Boy, Yet Another World delights in the brutal murder of its cartoony protagonist. Unlike Super Meat Boy however, Yet Another World’s challenge comes more from battling its awkward physics and limited palette that hides traps. Every so often, the game tries to add new elements into the mix, but ultimately the game usually throws the same combination of spikes and falling blocks at you.
This lack of variety can make a game of 120 levels seem a bit boring, and it really can be. With no real gameplay beyond jumping and collecting, and even despite the challenge of trying to collect every O-ring in the game, you may find yourself growing bored after less than 20% of the game is complete. Even the addition of water-based mechanics early on doesn’t help ease the boredom. The introduction of new mechanics only highlight the inconsistent physics of Yet Another World, and the over-sensitive controls that constantly leave our hero clumsily running into spikes or jumping into the jaws of a waiting shark. And when timed levels are added into the mix, these flaws are magnified tenfold.
One thing to note is that this game is best played in windowed mode, as full screen may see graphical glitches that require the game to be rebooted. That isn’t the only bug, as attempting to remap the controls resulted in the game constantly resetting them by itself. Luckily the controls are simple enough to use in their default scheme, but it’s a pretty major issue.
If you’re looking to scratch that hardcore platforming itch, and you’re a fan of Super Meat Boy, Yet Another World may be the game for you. Everyone else, however, will probably find only frustration and constant usage of the F-word. But is that any different from Team Meat’s modern classic? Either way, for £4.99 you really could do worse, and 120 levels means that you’re getting plenty of game for your money.
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