The Inner World Switch Review – A Quirky Puzzle Adventure
The Inner World is a quirky and charming puzzle point-and-click adventure with a host of strange characters and an eerie world to explore. It plays on a lot of classic puzzle elements, such as retrieving items to use in certain areas, interacting with characters, and maybe a little too much trial and error. The game is set in a dystopian land called Asposia, which suffered an attack by sinister creatures called the bazillions. They turned people to stone and left the land at the mercy of a harsh dictator, the wind monk Conroy. Conroy lives in a large palace, where he has raised a boy called Robert far away from the outside world.
Well, is this a point-and-click adventure worth your time, effort, and trials and errors? Let us see.
Robert is the character you control throughout the vast majority of the game. He’s sweet, naive, and despite the harsh way he is treated by Conroy, he sees him as a father figure. Robert is different from the other Asposians, though. He has what’s called a flute nose, which basically just means his nose looks like a flute, and he can play music out of it.
He’s pretty much never left the palace, so he is completely oblivious to the destruction and chaos happening in the outside world, and even the vague idea that Conroy may not be the good-doing-leader Robert believed he was seems impossible.
The game begins when a pigeon flies into the palace, stealing a prised possession of Conroy’s that Robert is polishing. Fearing what Conroy would think of this theft, Robert leaves the palace in pursuit of the pigeon, which is where the story begins.
The world of Asposia is desolate and dark, painted with atmospheric shades of blue, brown, and grey. But what it lacks in literal colour is easily made up for with the colourful personalities of the NPCs that you will encounter throughout. From a highly poisonous monster called a gorf, to a completely clueless cookie loving security guard, I took absolute delight in going through all the dialogue I could with these characters, even if it wasn’t necessary to the story. It definitely helped that this game has some pretty great voice acting, allowing for more characterisation and a further understanding of the world.
Of all the NPCs encountered, the most vital to the story is Laura, a young conspiracy theorist and rogue seeking to take down Conroy. Since she owns the pigeon that stole Conroy’s pendant, she does begin the game as the prominent antagonist. But as the game goes on, and more and more of her heretic ideas reveal themselves to be true, she becomes Robert’s friend and close companion. There are even some levels of the game where you can control Laura, which is actually really fun and provides a nice alternative angle to the story.
The sound design in The Inner World is also very fitting to the style. It’s minimalistic and sinister, using a lot of weird percussion type instruments and wind sound effects. Although it’s not a focal point and is a part of the game very easily overlooked, I still thought it added a nice touch to each area.
Overall the gameplay is very fun and unique. From re-enacting plays, to knitting a babies onesie, The Inner World pretty much always finds a way to put an exciting spin on things. Each puzzle fulfills a clear and prominent roll in the story, so every tiny piece of work did have an overall reward.
Sometimes entering a brand new area, having to familiarise yourself with the people and places, collecting all the items, and sometimes even working out what the puzzle you were trying to solve actually was a bit overwhelming. But once you knew your overall goal, the pieces definitely fell into place.
There were always a ton of things to interact with and ways to interact with them, so often I found myself trying anything to see if it would work. Some of the puzzle outcomes were so incredulously obscure that this seemed the only way to solve them as well. Luckily, The Inner World is equipped with one of the best in-game step-by-step help guides I’ve ever encountered. It really encourages you to think for yourself, just providing small hints to push you in the precise direction the developers wanted, so that is nice.
Although The Inner World does have a couple minor issues with its gameplay, it easily makes up for it through fantastic world-building and story telling. It was a genuine pleasure to experience the dark, sinister, and picture-book like art and slowly unraveling the whole covered-up conspiracy behind the world of Asposia.
Each character and area reveals something new, and I was genuinely shocked by the frankly pretty unnerving story path The Inner World took. It was really nice to see this tale told so well. As long as you’re happy with the focal points being world and aesthetic rather than the gameplay specifically, I think you’ll have a great time playing The Inner World.
The Inner World Review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Head Up Games
Developer: Studio Fizbin
Release Date: October 3rd, 2018
Price: $11.99, £9.99, €11.99
Game Size: 1.4 GB
Great art style
Unique puzzles and solutions
A lot of trial and error