Two games thus far have stood out since the fateful day I landed an Xbox One: Another World 20th Anniversary and Disney Infinity.
A blast from the past (1991, to be exact), Another World is a renovated version of a title that was very popular in its heyday for innovative gameplay, graphics style, storyline, and its willingness to get dark without beating the player over the head with gore.
Another World is a platformer, which means that the primary 2D character moves in fixed cells—left, right, up, and down. It is extremely easy to get killed and have to start at the last checkpoint.
The game features a physicist named Lester whose atom smasher gets struck by a pesky bolt of lightning on a dark and stormy night, only to cause a chain reaction that seemingly vaporizes the scientist, along with his desk and a huge chunk of the floor.
Lester rematerializes below the surface of a murky pool, portions of his desk and laboratory sinking into the abyss below. Even as you begin to guide him upwards, tentacles rise from the depths, eagerly searching for an easy meal.
Your objective is to escape the many dangers of the mysterious world, an alien prison, and an insatiable black beast that chases you from time to time.
Aided by Buddy, one of the weird aliens you save from certain death, you must learn everything you can about your environment if you wish to survive, no passage left unexplored.
The game is based upon your ability to plot a series of events from beginning to end so that the consequence is escape rather than a cut scene of jaws snapping at you from the shadows.
The 20th Anniversary edition has been made over so the graphics are much smoother than the original blocky bits. You can even press a button and switch back and forth to see the difference as you play.
Those who enjoy easier games, and/or whose children play video games, may want to steer clear of it, considering the amount of replay due to accidental trips and slips and the subsequent gobbling of your corpse by one of the denizens of the game world.
For those who played it back in the day or those feeling nostalgic for the gaming mode, Another World 20th Anniversary may be the right fit for you.
Disney Infinity is what developers refer to as a “sandbox” game that allows you to create and/or play in a variety of landscapes with a multitude of digital toys. It is played on your system, but requires a base and a selection of Disney’s most popular characters from The Incredibles, Monsters Inc., Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, Frozen, and even Marvel heroes like the Ultimate Spiderman crew and the Avengers.
In Play Set mode, you enter a world tailored to the set of characters you have purchased along with your game—for example, the cast of Brave, where you can play a pre-made storyline, complete missions, level-up your characters, and unlock special features.
In the Marvel storyline (no spoilers), you play your favorite character through New York landmarks, such as the Stark/Avengers Tower, a sewer, a warehouse, and even a frozen-solid Midtown Manhattan waterway. You have the added bonus of being able to use your characters’ powers to fight injustice through random monster spawnings and missions.
Toybox mode is pretty spectacular with an enormous selection of ways to build and create. You can even make your own levels and submit them to Disney if you can figure out how to program the characters and objects with the tools provided.
And therein lies the downfall of the do-it-yourself spirit of the game. You have to understand basic programming logic to get how many of the interfaces work, their hierarchy, and how they work together.
You can consult Disney on this, but the big guide is pretty pricey. You can buy smaller, portioned-out guides for different aspects of gameplay if you would rather play than program. If you do make your own world and would like to show it off, you can save it to the online database and share it with friends.
The issue I have with this game is that the characters can only rise to a certain level and then they stop gaining experience points, which means you top out and no more powers are available. You can buy power discs, which will unlock otherwise unattainable content, if you care to spend the extra.
Keep in mind, each figure is between $16 and $17, so your children will have to shovel a lot of snow on the weekends to build up their collection.
Adrian Miller is a Field Service Technician with extensive electro-mechanical training and experience. He is the Zenith’s web and graphic designer.