The Way Remastered
The Way Remastered has some problems, but it pays homage to a certain style of challenging action platformer very well indeed
The Way Remastered is full of nostalgia, from the pixelated landscape, to the LucasArts-esque typography, and the 2.5d perspective. It faithfully recreates the look and feel of the 16-bit, Amiga platform so perfectly, that old-school fans such as myself can’t help but be delighted right from the off.
The graphics have clearly been lovingly created, and the backdrops of these alien worlds are ‘painted’ gorgeously, but some of the character artwork and animation (of the ‘assistant’ character, in particular) could have been more polished. I loved the way text labels faded into view as I got closer to the relevant object, and the viewport scrolled to reveal doors opened by switches that were far, far away — these little touches go a long way.
I’d say at least 75% of the puzzles were engaging, and a good level of difficulty; some, unfortunately, were a let-down. At worst, the real challenge was understanding how the puzzle worked, rather than solving it. On one or two occasions, I gave up and ‘brute forced’ them by trial-and-error, which isn't too much fun, nor is it the sign of a well-designed puzzle. But the puzzles that work, especially the highly inventive tasks based around skills that you gain, are good fun if you like a bit of cognitive exercise.
I adore the multi-genre aspect of this game. It’s so reminiscent of the Amiga era, I can’t imagine the creator wasn’t influenced by that platform. I'm concerned the combination might feel too odd to some, but I really enjoyed the switching from one form to another. And the ending section switches the gameplay up once more, which surprised me, but left a smile on my face.
Much has been made of the story which, admittedly, is well told and moving on occasion. But we’re not talking Hollow Knight levels of depth and characterisation here — this is a short action game, primarily.
Some of the platforming takes frustration to a new level. I’m not sure how intentional that is, but it borders, at times, on masochistic. If you fall from about three times your own height, you die; call me wild and reckless, but I don’t think that would quite be the case irl. Some of the gaps that require you to jump only a little bit but not quite the-smallest-you-can are incredibly fiddly. And I don’t think I’ve ever played a game in which descending a ladder is so awkward.
The final genre to discuss is the combat, which usually consists of shooting, in one form or another. In a similar game from the original era, you might have utilised the d-pad (or its equivalent) to aim — nowadays, we have a full 360-degrees to work with, courtesy of the analog joystick. It takes quite a bit of getting used to — aiming with the joystick in 2d and shooting — but it’s rewarding enough once you get the hang.
The enemies you’ll come across are varied and challenging but fair — the game is generous enough to leave them dead after one kill, most of the time. In fact, the game is also generous in restart points — which you’ll find are used a lot since the platforming and combat are so tough. Even though its short, The Way Remastered has a good, balanced difficulty level, and tests the player in a variety of ways.
The Way Remastered has a very unique style and combination of gameplay genres, which might make it divisive. I fall heavily into the camp that — mainly through nostalgia — is drawn to this kind of thing, and I wasn’t disappointed. I would urge caution for anyone who doesn’t already suspect they’d enjoy this kind of game, but those with at least a passing interest are bound to find enjoyment here. A couple of bugs let the side down a bit (one, involving a security light that becomes impossible to pass, seems consistent), but the restart mechanism at least provides an easy workaround.
As someone who never played Another World or Flashback, it’s possibly a surprise I feel so nostalgic for this game. But it manages to get enough of the detail right, not only to recreate a memorable piece of the past, but also to add a suitable amount of flourish in the process. If a few more of the bigger downsides — length, fiddliness, some obscure puzzles — could be ironed out, The Way Remastered could be more than deserving of its full retail price. As it is, the frequent discount it sells at makes it an utter bargain.
I completed The Way Remastered in somewhere between 5 and 10 hours. It’s a bit fiddly to play handheld; I found certain sections much better with the pro controller.
I paid £0.89; it’s currently at that low, low price in the e-shop. At full price, it’s £13.49 — this is on the steep side for a short game with little or no replay value. Wait for it on sale — you probably won’t be waiting long!