There’s a special kind of satisfaction in solving the puzzles given to you in point and click games. To solve seemingly impossible puzzles using your creativity (and the items in your inventory). That’s no different in The Inner World, from Studio Fizbin. It’s an engaging and unique story that stands out visually, but unfortunately suffers from some cumbersome controls.
The Inner World takes place in the almost Tim Burton-esque world of Asposia. A seemingly underground world surrounded by earth, it was originally a bright land filled with life, powered by wind. One day, the wind disappeared, and the wind gods began turning Asposians into stone. At the center of this mystery is Robert, a young boy who is the ward of Wind Monk Conroy, Ruler of Asposia.
Robert is a charming lead. He posseses a flute-esque nose that immediately sets him apart from the other Asposians. As a boy who has been sheltered his whole life, he has a naivety to the outside world that gives him a likability factor. Despite an unwavering loyalty to Conroy, he is never malicious in any way. Even when faced with less-than-noble characters, he always manages to do what he feels is right.
The 2D look of The Inner World gives is crisp, both in handheld mode and while docked. The animation is a bit janky, but that can be chalked up to it originally being released in 2013. Still, it would’ve been nice if The Inner World got a bit of sprucing up for its debut on Switch.
Asposia is a dark and fantastical world, filled with oddities and strange creatures. Scarce light is provided by the Fosfos; gentle, floating creatures that become more significant to the plot as you continue on your journey.
There’s not much in the way of supporting characters. The most significant is Laura, Robert’s companion and what drives a lot of the plot. Laura is the complete opposite of Robert. World-worn on sarcastic, Laura doesn’t care about making friends, just solving the mystery of her father’s disappearance. I actually preferred Laura to Robert, as I connected more to her hardened nature than Robert’s naivety.
In terms of puzzles, The Inner World has some intuitive and creative ones. There were some points where I was scratching my head, but The Inner World has a solution in mind. There’s a hint system in play, and a simple press of a button will open up a new screen. You’ll be able to get hints for each task you have to finish. You are also in control of how much help you’ll get. The hints start off vague, and if you need more help, they can become more detailed.
Unfortunately, the controlling of the game itself is cumbersome. You can use the triggers on the Switch to cycle through all interactive items, and once you select one, you have three options. It makes interacting with the world and solving puzzles in each area tedious. It’s unfortunate that The Inner World didn’t take advantage of the Switch’s touchscreen capabilities. Simply tapping on each item would make playing The Inner World a lot more enjoyable.
Loading screens were also an issue. Entering each room resulted in a loading screen, which lasted for longer than it should have. It is especially apparent in the late-game puzzles, which involved a lot of moving back and forth between rooms. The Inner World overall has an engaging story and world, but actually playing it could be a pain.
Overall, I did enjoy my time with The Inner World. I wanted to learn the secrets of Asposia, and what role Robert plays in it. There were many twists and turns, and I was thoroughly engaged the entire time. The actual world itself was a world I wanted to explore; dark and slightly twisted, while also having a level of whimsy to it. Unfortunately, the mechanics of The Inner World are clunky and not necessarily user-friendly. The Inner World is short and can be completed in a few hours, so if you can get past the controls, it is an enjoyable, engaging experience.
REVIEW CODE: A Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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