I was, honestly, feeling a little burned out on games after giving up on Elden Ring; and too many of the games that I’d noted as potential games to play next had enough mechanical overlap with Elden Ring that now in particular wasn’t the time for them. While I was wondering what to do about that, the list of free Xbox Games with Gold for April came out, and a couple of the games listed there looked like potential palate cleansers. I normally try to avoid having my game choices affected by what happens to available for free, but this felt like a time to make an exception, a way of bringing a bit more randomness into my game selection when I could use that.

So I gave Another Sight a try. It seemed to be a two-character platformer with some steampunk going on, where one of the characters has vision problems; hopefully there’s something in that combination, or at least in some of the individual elements?


When I first started playing Another Sight, the main things that struck me were negative: the animation wasn’t particularly good, the platforming wasn’t well tuned. But, honestly, maybe that’s a good sign? You can make a case that I spend too much time playing games that are polished in ways that doesn’t correlate with aspects of game design that I care about more; I should break out of that, and, as part of breaking out of that, I should accept that games like that aren’t necessarily going to do well along traditional aspects of game polish.

So I pushed along, hoping that I’d find a spark of soul in the game that would make things click for me. But, unfortunately, that never happened. I didn’t find anything in the game that I thought was actively good; and in most aspects of the game, it was easier to point at something actively bad than actively good.

The character’s vision problems, for example, never gave me the feel of seriously grappling with the experience of navigating a world in low vision. Sure, the world would look a little dark when you controlled that character; but all that that meant was that you’d switch over to controlling the cat, and then you’d get to see what the space looked like. After doing that, you’d switch back to the human and go to where you need to go. Maybe there’s potentially something interesting in her not being able to jump to platforms that she can’t see; except they added a mechanic where she can see them if there’s a noise nearby. Which does give you a game mechanic (get the cat there, have the cat meow, and the girl can jump), and I could imagine a game where that was a meaningful metaphor for getting assistance from others, but Another Sight isn’t that game: instead, the girl more or less just says in cut scenes “my vision has gone bad, I don’t know why, but somehow I can see sound, and I don’t know why that is”, without putting any of this into any larger context.

The game mixes in various historical characters; not uncommon in a steampunk setting? But it doesn’t add anything here, it just feels like the game is trying to pull on unearned cultural capital. (You like Monet, right? How about Tesla?) The game tries to link that with the design of the worlds; this linkage isn’t particularly successful. I think actually the visual design of the worlds is pleasant; but not in a way that gets at anything deep, either on its own or in terms of connection with the story and characters.

Or I mentioned above that the platforming wasn’t great; that could be okay in a platformer that’s more about figuring out puzzles as opposed to one that’s about precise jumping, and indeed Another Sight does lean on the puzzles. So the controls are fine given the task at hand; and the puzzles are fine, but not great. But then the game decides to start working in stealth sections; rarely a good idea, and the stealth sections here are particularly bad, with the rules for how enemies respond to your actions being much more obscure than I would like.


So: not a good game. I actually did finish it, because it was so short, and ultimately most of the time the puzzles were okay. And it was at least a change of pace? But not a particularly successful experiment. Or at least not particularly successful in isolation; if we judge the entire portfolio of random short games I was playing at the time, then the portfolio as a whole actually comes out well. So maybe the lesson here is: increase variance, and just deal with the fact that will lead to low points as well as high points.

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