Another World

Another World logo

Summary

Another World is an action/adventure platformer that was originally released in 1991.

Review

Here is a record of the ~15 minutes I played this game.

Another World
Wow, I look stoned.
Another World
A professor who drives a Ferrari, huh?
Another World
This cinematic is painfully slow. Dum dee dum…
Another World
Press action to continue?! Wtf is action?! *Pushes all the buttons* Okay, it’s Ctrl.
Another World
Wait, I just saw this part. So did I die? Oh yup, I guess I so, because I can swim to the surface. The transition from cinematic to playable was not at all obvious.
Another World
Damn, it won’t let me walk off the cliff. 🙁
Another World
Could I walk any slower? (Found out later you can run if you hold Ctrl)
Another World
Ouch, a worm thing cut my knee.
Another World
Aaaand I guess I’m dead. Bad worm.
Another World
Do I have any other controls? Doesn’t look like it.

I learned that you could get past the worms by jumping over them, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to jump over all of the worms in the second screen of worms. I could get past the first one fine, but the second and third worms kept slicing my knee open. 🙁 I wasn’t interested in this game anyway, so I gave up.

You might like this game if you like…

  • 25-year-old games
  • Dying over and over because you cut your knee
  • Games whose only instruction is to “press action” after you die without giving any indication which button that might be.
  • Retro graphics

Want to play?

Another World is apparently available on a multitude of platforms from desktops to mobile devices to consoles. Here are just a few options (I played on my PC via Steam):

$9.99 on Steam | $1.99 on Android | $3.99 on iOS

Magicka

Magicka is an action-adventure game I bought through Steam.

The Story & Game World

Magicka backstory
Magicka backstory

Magicka takes place in a fantasy world called Midgård that’s based on Norse mythology (bonus points for that!). The backstory is that there was once a powerful wizard called Grimnír who tried to harness the power of all Magicks. Grimnír was part of the Order of Magicka, a group of wizards who were entrusted with protecting the secrets of Magick and preserving peace in Midgård. Well, when the other wizards found out about Grimnír’s plans, they felt threatened and had him imprisoned at World’s End.

Players start out a wizard university, where you first meet Vlad (who is totally not a vampire, as he will frequently remind you). Vlad is the senior tutor at the university and he sends players on quests throughout the game.

Vlad, who is certainly not a vampire
Vlad, who is certainly not a vampire

I love the humor and light-hearted atmosphere of the game. One of the spells players can cast is called “Crash to Desktop,” which causes a random character to instantly die. Other examples of Magicka’s humor are a city named Dunderhaed, NPC’s who think the best place to hide during a fight is in the gunpowder storage, and bosses who say things like, “AAARGH!!! Loss of blood… my only weakness!” after you kill them. Even the tooltips can be funny; one tip says, “Chuck Norris isn’t in the game, but if he was, you would’ve already lost!” I love the in-game references to other games, movies, and pop culture, too.

Gameplay

Choosing your robe
Choosing your robe

When you start the game, you get to choose your wizard robe. The robes change your appearance and give you different traits, staves, and weapons depending on your choice. The staves and weapons don’t make a big difference since you can swap them in the game. The traits (like elemental resistance, increased HP, etc.) are perhaps worth paying attention to, but I doubt their impact is game-changing. Well, unless you pick a robe that is resistant to healing and gets healed by lightning instead or something. I picked the Tentacle Robe due to its sheer ridiculousness.

Wizards drown in water (have to freeze it to cross!)
Wizards drown in water (have to freeze it to cross!)

What I think makes Magicka different from other games I’ve played is its spell-casting system. It reminds me a lot of Alchemy, where you create things by combining different elements. When you start the game, it exposes you to the 8 different elements (water, lightning, life, arcane, shield, earth, cold, and fire) and teaches you how you can combine them to cast spells. You can cast a fireball, for example, by using earth and then fire. Some of the elements combine when cast after each other, too (water with fire produces steam and water with cold produces ice). Opposing elements (like lightning and water) cancel each other out. Furthermore, you can’t use lightning if your character is wet and if you’re on fire, you can put out the flames by casting water on yourself. You use the keyboard to pick elements (each element is assigned a keyboard key) and you cast the spell by clicking one of the mouse buttons and optionally holding shift. Special spells (Magicks) are cast with the spacebar. It takes a little while to get used to the controls and spells.

Crossing beams to create a more powerful beam
Crossing beams in to create a more powerful beam

One nice thing about Magicka is that it supports multiplayer. I have only played co-op, but there is also a versus (PVP) play mode. Playing co-op can actually be a little tricky. It’s easy to accidentally (or intentionally!) kill your friends with area of effect (AOE) spells or if they move in front of you while you’re casting. You also have to be very careful about crossing spell beams because when beams of opposing elements cross, it’ll cause an explosion. At least dying isn’t a big deal and it’s quick and easy to revive your friends.

Overall Thoughts

Magicka is fun, challenging, and light-hearted. It takes a little getting used to and you’ll probably die fairly often, but then you just try again. Experimenting with the elements and learning new spells is an aspect of the game I really enjoy. I definitely recommend giving Magicka a try!

Trine 2

Trine 2 Characters
Trine 2 Characters

Trine 2 is another game I picked up during the Steam Summer Sale. It’s a sidescrolling puzzle and action-adventure platform game… and it’s as visually attractive as it is fun to play.

Characters

You get to play as each of three different characters in Trine 2:

  • Amadeus (the wizard) – He can grab and move objects and conjure boxes and planks.
  • Zoya (the thief) – She can shoot arrows with her bow and use her grappling hook to move around.
  • Pontius (the knight) – He uses his sword and shield to defeat foes in combat and he has a hammer he can throw.
Trine 2 Wizard
Amadeus (Wizard)
Trine 2 Thief
Zoya (Thief)
Trine 2 Knight
Pontius (Knight)
Each of the characters has its own health meter and you can switch between characters on the fly (as long as the character isn’t dead). Health is restored at the various checkpoints in the game.

The Rest of the Game

The game world is really pretty. It’s full of detail and vibrant colors, which I love. There are some fun and interesting world objects, too, like giant snails and frogs that you can interact with.

The game world is full of obstacles and puzzles to challenge players, too. For instance, one recurring puzzle involves watering plants to make them grow. The player needs to find the water source and manipulate the game objects in such a way that the plant get watered. Other challenges include fighting goblins when they show up, getting across ravines filled with spikes, rerouting steam jets, and dodging fireball-spitting plants. There are also occasional boss fights, but for the most part, I find them to be rather anti-climactic.

Trine 2 Skill Tree
Trine 2 Skill Tree

To challenge players further, the levels are filled with objects for players to collect. There are glowing vials throughout the game that generally require some clever thinking to acquire. When the player collects 50 vials, he/she earns a point for the skill tree. The points can be spent on things like an increased number of conjured items for the wizard, fire arrows for the thief, and charge for the knight. Players can also find hidden treasure chests, which contain paintings and poems that tell more of the story.

A really cool feature about Trine 2 is that it supports online co-op, so you can play with up to two of your friends. When you play with other people, you each get to play as one of the characters (you can switch characters if you want). This lets you do some pretty neat things like using the wizard to fly the other characters around on planks and boxes.

Trine 2 Co-Op
Trine 2 Three-Player Online Co-Op

Overall Thoughts

I love Trine 2. 🙂 It’s fun to play and it’s such a beautiful game. I really like that you can play co-op, too. Highly recommended!