In their defense, game genres exist in order to give the uninformed a simple descriptor to help create an idea of what a game is like. Most of the time, these genres do their job well (I mean, how many First-Person Shooters aren't exactly that?)
, but in the case of a game like Another World
, they are quite inadequate.
That's true... in a lot of cases, genre labels can be useful. But I think relying on them too heavily just results in too many games that are very similar. People have an idea of what a first-person shooter is, so they just make another one like that, rather than thinking of ways to improve or differentiate it. I wonder whether we'd see more interesting games if we didn't have such strong genre definitions.
But maybe not, who knows?
Anyway, your point about the puzzle aspects of Another World are interesting, and I think I might agree with you. But I also understand those who call it a platformer, since it has the familiar side-on perspective and even some jumping. I also think it borrows from the point-and-click adventure genre, in that every new screen is unique (unlike most platformers which use tiles to create screens out of familiar building blocks). And one could even argue that the puzzle aspects are similar to adventure games, albeit without the usual inventory, and many of the "die a few times before you can figure it out" designs were used in older adventure games too. Then the combat is action-oriented, even if it does require strategic thinking in addition to quick reflexes. And there are cool cinematic cutscenes too. Definitely an interesting mix of stuff.
By the way, on the subject of whether or not it's a platformer, many consider Another World to be one of the first games in the "cinematic platformer" sub-genre. Prince of Persia is the other classic example of this, although Prince of Persia had levels made up of tiles as opposed to Another World's unique screens. The idea with these games was that the player character moved in a realistic manner, as opposed to something like Mario where the character can jump several times his own height. In Another World and Prince of Persia, the character mostly just jumps forwards, although in Prince of Persia he can also jump up to grab a ledge overhead and pull himself up. These games often tended towards a more puzzle-like approach as well, as evidenced by Prince of Persia's numerous pressure plates, gates and traps. Prince of Persia certainly has more jumping and platforms in it than Another World does, but there are definitely similarities -- even the swordfighting in Prince of Persia requires strategic thinking like the gunplay in Another World.
It is definitely true that Another World has far fewer platforms and jumping than other platformers, even cinematic platformers, but the character movement is similar, which is why many people consider the game a platformer.