It’s been a little while since I delved into a decent puzzle game and was truly hooked, but I finally played one which I couldn’t put down. Developed by Lunar Great Wall Studios, Another Sight is a very intriguing 2.5D puzzle game with a unique setting and premise. You control Kit, a girl blinded by an accident, and you must work your way through puzzles and strange environments with the help of a magical cat called Hodge.
Although it draws very obvious comparisons with Alice in Wonderland (which is actually mentioned in the game itself, funnily enough) with its similar fantastical scenery, it has a lot that makes it feel very fresh and enticing.
Another Sight is set in 1899, during the construction of the London Underground. Our protagonist, Catherine (Kit), a wondrous and bold teenage girl, falls into a hole whilst exploring. In this fall, she somehow loses her vision and is left alone and confused for a brief moment until a very strange and seemingly mystical cat named Hodge appears and helps you find your way out.
All we really know at the beginning is that there was some kind of dispute involving Kit’s father and that you were looking around the construction site where you probably shouldn’t have been. It’s a very interesting setup, especially with the surreal and steampunk alternative universe in which this takes place and is immediately gripping. The problem that follows is that, apart from the introduction to Hodge, there really isn’t any plot progression for the first hour of the game. Since this game only takes 3-4 hours to complete, I think there should be contextual tutorials that also push the plot forward, rather than having a large chunk of the game taken up with non-stop puzzles and no story.
When the plot does progress, there are some emotive and intriguing cutscenes that feel like they’re ripped from the pages of a fairy tale book. They look very pretty indeed and the voice acting is engaging and well-performed. You will encounter some very famous people along your journey, including Charles Monet the famous painter. There’s a few more but I won’t spoil them. So between these historical figures and monuments, what exactly will you be doing?
As you journey through the underground, you will mostly be solving puzzles throughout Another Sight, puzzles with some very cool designs. You will be constantly swapping between Kit and Hodge and using their own unique traits to work together and progress through increasingly dangerous landscapes and passages. There’s a very nice mechanic where you can call out to Hodge and make him “meow”, which can light up an area and help lead you to him. If you follow him closely the area is lit up by the sound and so it’s safer to travel. Doing this will allow Kit to travel much quicker than if she was leading the way, where instead she will stumble around slowly, feeling her way forward.
It’s a very nice mechanic that encourages you to lead with Hodge. On the other hand, I will say there are a few occasions where it seems like Kit can see things clearly in the way she describes them, which is strange when she is supposed to be using echolocation; but I think I’m just being a bit picky and it doesn’t spoil the experience at all.
There are some puzzles that are a little overused, such as standing on buttons to open passages or activate elevators for the other character but they are thankfully placed between some other very clever puzzles, including a puzzle where you have to rotate clock hands to create a path.
Where the puzzles really shine though is when there are platform sections that you must manoeuvre through by using the machines and devices around you to make noise. Another Sight cleverly uses the vibrations of objects and environmental hazards to show them making noise and therefore creating light for you to use with your echolocation skills. Objects will glow as power surges through them, or when machinery grinds and bangs it will show pathways and jumps that wouldn’t be possible without them creating the sound to show you where you can go. It’s a very interesting means to create puzzles with and I think is used very effectively by Lunar Great Wall Studios.
The flip side to this is that the movement is sometimes very clunky which leads to over and under jumping gaps that should be quite simple. This mostly applies to your time with Hodge but there are a few niggly sections as Kit too. You will sometimes take a jump and your momentum will carry you over the next edge and cause needless deaths. Then there’s the frankly hilariously vertical jump that Hodge does which is very awkward and makes reaching higher places sometimes pointlessly difficult. Thankfully the game isn’t harsh on your deaths though as you instantly respawn and with checkpoints frequent and kind, you’re never too far away from where your mistake happened.
Moving on to performance and audio design now and I have to say that the game plays perfectly. It runs at a steady 30fps and I never encountered any glitches or visual mishaps. I played it on a standard PS4 and it still looks great. There are some superb environments that appear magical and vivid with colour when seen through the eyes of Hodge. Then with Kit, the use of bold colours to highlight the locations of sound looks amazing as well, brilliantly juxtaposing the sheer blackness surrounding the quiet areas where she can’t see. There’s a good variety too, with each chapter markedly different but equally as pretty as the last. There are ruins, open garden areas and even a trippy dream area and they all look great.
The sound design is right up there too; and while it’s obvious to say wear headphones for the best experience, I noticed a huge difference between my TV and headphones which is strange for a puzzle game. It adds another compelling layer with some harsh and realistic sounds and tones from machinery, wilderness and through voices echoing in the depths of the underground. It’s a visual and audio treat. Add in the orchestra for the soundtrack to add weight to the plot points and it makes it a surprisingly powerful experience at times.
There isn’t a ton of content in Another Sight, with the story lasting between 3 and 4 hours but there are some collectables that you can find to unlock bits of information to provide a bit of extra detail about the characters and the strange world you find yourself in. I did read them all and I found them to be a nice little addition and well worth a read if you like to delve a bit deeper into your games.
Lunar Great Wall Studios have made an intriguing and magical game, within Another Sight, with a premise that keeps you hooked until you finish it. There are some wonderful puzzle designs that take advantage of the unique selling point of the game; the relationship between the visually impaired Kit and the very cute and clever cat, Hodge. Some sections are overly long and use the same means to progress and so are a little repetitive in places but they’re often broken up by some interesting changes of pace. The story is a little slow to get going and the jumping mechanics are sometimes very frustrating but it’s not enough to put you off playing. The game is a bit short and I probably spent more time choosing a skin for Hodge (purple was my final choice) than I did completing the first two chapters, but it’s paced well overall and keeps you hooked.
Overall, if you like a good puzzle game, enjoy surrealist fantasy or simply like cats, I would definitely recommend Another Sight. It’s perhaps a little steep at £24.99 considering there’s not really much replayability, but I did enjoy every second I played so if you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind shorter and more fulfilling experiences then it’s definitely worth it.