Inner Space: review

Before you get too excited, no, it’s got nothing to do with the 1987 movie starring Martin Short. Sorry about that. This indie adventure takes place in an “inverted world”, where you’ll be travelling through the air and sea in – or, more accurately, as – a transforming contraption (“the cartographer”), your only companion in this mysterious world somebody known to you as the archaeologist.

The world that you find yourself in is, without a shadow of a doubt, the star attraction of the package. Actually, to clarify, we’re quite specifically talking about how the world looks. The art style is wonderful, a gorgeous orchestra of soft pastel colours and harsh angles that creates a slightly surreal world of wonder. Accompanied by a gentle minimalist soundtrack, it just might make you go “Oooh”.

Although the prettiness of the world around you encourages aimless exploration, there is a plot and a series of objectives holding everything together. The inhabitants of this topsy-turvy land have all disappeared; but they’ve left behind buildings, technology, and collectable Relics. It’s by investigating all of this that you will slowly uncover the history of the Inverse (for such is the place called), and unlock new areas to explore.

The place isn’t quite devoid of life, though. Creatures that the lost civilisation apparently worshipped as gods, while few and far between, still wander the lands. These encounters represent the closest thing the game has to combat… but, like most everything else, they feel half finished.

As previously mentioned, the unique and fascinating look of the world encourages exploration. There are a small number of collectables but, ultimately, there’s very little reward for taking the time to find and explore all the nooks and crannies. There are few surprises, something that you’ll sadly learn fairly quickly.

The control system is as baffling as it is frustrating. Actually getting a handle on it isn’t difficult, and it gets the job done. Your flying & diving machine is essentially invincible, with bumps and crashes providing little more than inconvenience. Just as well, as both flying and underwater travel are surprisingly inelegant. There’s no way to control your speed in a satisfactory manner; whenever you want to examine your surroundings closely or take some tight corners, you’re always travelling just a little too fast. While tight cornering is theoretically possible, the inertia coupled with the fact that slowing down means winding up for a speed boost makes navigating small angles a chore at best.

Even worse, at times you may find yourself looking for direction that simply isn’t there. It’s not always clear where you need to go or what you need to do; and with a lack of Easter Eggs, the fairly small size of each area soon becomes apparent. Spend too long wondering exactly what you’re expected to do, and boredom soon sets in.

Initially fascinating, Inner Space squanders the potential of its aesthetically wonderful world by failing to fill it sufficiently. There are moments of discovery that will put a smile on your face, certainly; but there’s too much aimless filler in between each one.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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