- Format: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, Android
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Headup Games
- Developer: Studio Fizbin
- Players: 1
- Site: http://www.theinnerworld.de/about_EN.html
- Game code provided by the publisher
Point and click adventure games are almost as old as gaming itself, with titles like Monkey Island, Broken Sword and Beneath a Steel Sky being classic examples. Recently the genre has been making a big comeback, mainly thanks to the rise of smartphones and tablets, with the touchscreens of these devices lending themselves perfectly to the nature of these games. The Inner World is a classic point and click adventure set in the surreal world of Asposia, with a selection of bizarre characters and challenging puzzles; but how does it translate to playing with a gamepad on the latest line of consoles?
The first thing that hits you when you load up The Inner World is the art style, which is an eyecatching hand-drawn style that looks both grotesque and beautiful in a weird Tim Burtonesque style. The world of Asposia is brought to life with a bizarre selection of characters and creatures. Asposia is a world encased inside the earth, which has three huge wind fountains that bring air to the citizens of the world. Unfortunately these fountains have been breaking down one after another, until there is only one left. This has been caused by the Basylians, who are the ancient wind gods of Asposia, who have been angrily turning the citizens to stone. The wind fountains are looked after by the wind monks, with the last resident wind monk, Abbot Conroy, guarding the remaining wind fountain. The player takes the role of Robert, a naive and charming character (who strangely has a flute for a nose), who is an assistant and court-musician to Conroy, whom he sees as a father figure. Later on in the game you also get to play as Laura, a rebellious young Asposian. It all starts innocently enough, with Robert tasked with finding a thieving pigeon who has stolen one of Conroy’s trinkets; but as the story unravels there is a much bigger tale to tell, that involves saving the world of Asposia.
While point and click adventure games work well on touchscreen devices, and using a mouse with a PC, the gamepad of the PS4 and Xbox One aren’t really suited for scouring the game world for clues or items. The Inner World uses a system where you push the shoulder button of the gamepad to highlight areas of interest, which you can cycle through by pushing the button repeatedly. Once you find the area you’d like to interact with you press the X button, and you can either look at the item or character, or interact with them. You also have an inventory which you can bring up, and combine or use items to solve puzzles. It works OK, although it is perhaps a tad on the clunky side, and sometimes you need to move your character nearer to the area of interest before it would register as being interactive. The puzzles themselves are your typical point and click adventure fare, having you trying various objects on anything you find, until you solve the puzzle and then move on to the next area. These puzzles are not too complex or illogical, and can mostly be solved with a bit of thought. One of the standout puzzles involves you trying to open a trapdoor on stage, by changing the scenery of a play using some clues that you find. This was well thought out, and was rewarding once you’d figured it out. If you do get stuck however, the game employs a handy hint system that will help you out if you do get too frustrated. But for the most part we found the puzzles were challenging, rather than frustrating.
The script is also worthy of praise and the dialogue is well written, and has plenty of subtle adult humour that helps give it a broader appeal. The characters are also well voiced with plenty of different accents used to give the characters a bit of variety, and none of them could be characterised as being annoying or boring, making you want to skip what they say, although the option is there if you so wish. The Gorf, who you encounter in the Root Forest, is a particular highlight, who is a strange frog-like creature with a northern accent and a flirtatious nature. Every character actually has a place in the world of Asposia, and each have their own agenda and motivations. The story itself is also engaging from the start, and is an enjoyable journey in its just over six hours of play time, with some brilliant one-liners breaking up some of the darker moments of the story.
The Inner World is an enjoyable point and click adventure game that fans of the genre will love. While the interface it employs is a tad clunky on the consoles, it doesn’t detract from the journey you embark on, and the puzzles, for the most part, were well designed. With a story that grabs you from the start, your visit to Asposia is a surreal and engaging trip, with a cast of entertaining characters that is fun for all ages.