The Inner World is a point and click adventure game created for fans of that game type, but also offers a unique hint system designed to appeal to newcomers. The game has its flaws, but is the perfect gateway game for point and click adventures. If you have never tried this genre before or haven’t played one since Grim Fandango or Monkey Island, this game might be worth a try. If you don’t like the genre then this game will do nothing to assuage you of that feeling.
The Inner World tells the story of Robert, a naive and sweetly simple boy, and the world of Asposia. Asposia is a world built around three wind tunnels that have stopped offering wind and are covered in garbage. Robert accidentally sets out to find where the wind has gone and along his travels he meets the mysterious Laura, a brash and troubled girl, that helps him in his quest. Along the journey, Robert learns the mystery of his past.
The hand drawn art style and detailed backgrounds are immediately interesting. Each background in Asposia is filled with unique objects. A world filled with garbage is conveyed through every background in the game without exposition, but completely through the drawings. I have never seen another game that looked quite the same and that is a real highlight for a gaming landscape filled with browns and greys.
The gameplay is standard for a point and click adventure, but the puzzles that are offered through the gameplay do a good job of building from the beginning to the end. The puzzles start out simple and help the player get used to the mechanics and then, later in the game, become more in-depth and difficult to solve. However the difficulty, in most situations, doesn’t feel arbitrary or difficult beyond rational thought. There is a clear emphasis on evolving difficulty of puzzles and them being solved logically.
However, there are a few moments in the game when trial and error are the only way to solve the puzzle, because, even though many puzzles are logical, some still expect the player to have knowledge about the world that they just won’t have. For example, there is a later puzzle that expects the player to know that a special type of bug in this world produces a specific color when around items of that same color and that this excretion can be placed on another item so that a character will react to it differently and the player will be able to continue on in the game. Clearly, you can see how in-depth this puzzle is (and I’m not even mentioning the other puzzles that needed to be solved in order to build to this situation) and the game doesn’t offer any previous information or build up to this puzzle which makes it virtually impossible for the player to solve the puzzle on their own without trial and error or the games hint system (I ended up using the hint system).
The hint system is a unique addition to the game and seems to have been created for the casual gamer. If the player gets stuck, they can get a hint directly from the game developers. There are even multiple hints for each puzzle so the mechanic doesn’t feel like a “solve puzzle” button; it feels more like help. Also, the games dry sense of humor translates well into the hints and when I rifled through all of the hints, for one puzzle, back to back it gave me this feeling like the game was mocking me due to needing the hints. The feeling would have only been more emphasized if it had placed gigantic neon arrows on the screen around the item I needed and then placed the word “seriously?” on the screen to emphasize the sarcastic nature of that term.
This type of dry and sarcastic humor is overflowing within the game. The dialogue is absurd and character interactions are odd and surreal. The best reference point for whether this will work for you or not is Monty Python. If you are a fan of that style of humor, you will probably enjoy the humor in this game. If you aren’t a fan, the humor will come off as poorly written dialogue (I fell into the previous category, but humor is subjective).
However, the humor can’t save the story, which is unengaging and cliché’d. The story offers stock characters that have no time to develop due to the length of the game and a villain that falls into the “evil for the sake of being evil” category. This is a real problem, because there were many points when I didn’t want to continue playing the game, because I just didn’t care what happened nor did anything surprise me.
The final weakness seems to be becoming a trend. This game, like Waddle Home and many others, was designed and developed for mobile platforms. As I stated in my Waddle Home review, there is nothing wrong with a game being ported from mobile devices to consoles, but the same value and replay ability flaws are present. The game isn’t priced harshly, which means there is value here, but after completing the game there is no replay ability left unless you are a trophy junkie, but even then I acquired half of the trophies on my first play through and I wasn’t trying to get the trophies. This means that for $15 you get 3 to 6 hours of gameplay, which may be enough value for you, but not for me.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
The Inner World PS4 Review
The Inner World places an emphasis on being accessible to new players, offers in depth and logical puzzles, and if you dig the humor and art style portrayed in the trailers you’ll like it. However, the lack of an engaging story and replay ability guarantee that you won’t play it for long and in a time period when better point and click adventure games (Grim Fandango and Monkey Island) are being remastered and brought to current generation consoles, it is difficult to recommend this game.
*Reviewed using a PS4 Standard.