The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk is an interesting game, for sure. A game that is ostensibly a sequel to The Inner World, yet also one that stands on its own. While it’s not wholly necessary to have played the prior game to fully understand what’s happening, it does give a solid foundation. Playing the first game also truly shows you how The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk improves on its predecessors. Unfortunately, some of the problems that hindered the first one are still present this time around.
The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk takes place three years after the first game. Without spoiling the first game, things have gone pretty south since the events of The Inner World. The game takes place in the odd world of Asposia, which is inhabited by the pale-skinned Asposians. They are defined by their striped noses, which becomes important later. In the three years following The Inner World, things have gone pretty south. A fascist leader, Emil, has risen up and has begun to persecute “flute noses,” or those who have noses with holes. Sadly, Robert, leader of the flute noses, has gone missing.
However, once Robert does turn up again, he finds the world of Asposia in a dire state, and learns he needs to find the titular last wind monk to save the flute noses. The events in Asposia are a stand-in for historical events that will be obvious to even the most casual players. There are times where it can be a bit heavy-handed in its approach, especially towards the end, although it’s not as jarring as similar situations in other games. While Robert is on a journey to save the flute noses, he won’t be able to do it on his own.
Quite possibly the biggest change in The Last Wind Monk is the fact that (save for certain circumstances) you can freely change control between characters, Robert, his partner/kind of girlfriend Laura and loyal pet pigeon, Peck. This feature helps make gameplay much more varied than last time. Robert and Laura don’t have too many differences, except for very certain circumstances. For example, Laura is able to carry heavy objects that Robert can’t. However, those instances are few and far between. Peck, as a bird, can fly, allowing him to reach high up where the other two can’t. Switching between the characters helps make gameplay feel fresh and makes the puzzle-solving more invigorating. But when the three characters are separated, that’s when one of The Last Wind Monk’s biggest problems really pops up (but more on that later).
Mechanics-wise, The Last Wind Monk is a massive improvement upon its predecessor. In my review of The Inner World, I complained about the clunky mechanics of the gameplay, and lamented that touchscreen implementation would have improved the experience. Thankfully, that’s exactly what is happening here. You can use the touchscreen to interact with objects, as well as use inventory items. While the touch controls weren’t 100% accurate, it was a welcome improvement over what came before.
The animation is also much more fluid this time around. While I appreciated the 2D art of the first game, the animation was slightly choppy. With the three-year difference between that and The Last Wind Monk, the animation has definitely improved. As is usual with the adventure game, The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk will make you think as you try to figure out its puzzles. In a feature carried over from the first game, there is a hint system for when you are particularly struggling. For each task you need completed, you’ll be presented a series of hints. The hints become gradually more specific as they get revealed, meaning you can either get a hint that’s as vague as possible, or have every step described in detail for you.
Unfortunately, while a majority of features were improved for The Last Wind Monk, one glaring issue remains. Loading times were a big deterrent for me while playing. You’re faced with a loading screen every time you enter a new room, and a majority of puzzles involve bouncing between rooms. While an adventure game isn’t one that requires on momentum, the momentum does get broken up quite a bit while playing. The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk runs smoothly, but the loading times are the biggest speed bump in an overall delightful game.
I appreciated how much more effort was put into world-building this time around. You travel far outside of Asposia, and meet many more friendly faces than you did during Robert and Laura’s first journey. One of my other complaints of The Inner World were that the supporting cast left a lot to be desired, and that is something that is thankfully fixed this time around. This also correlates to the journey taking you farther across Asposia than before. This truly feels like a lived-in world, and it pays off on the mythology laid down in the first game.
While there are mechanical issues present, I truly enjoyed revisiting this strange world. The Inner World -The Last Wind Monk improves on the first game in many notable ways. Touch screen controls make playing it much more accessible, and make puzzle solving a lot smoother than before. While it isn’t always used to its full potential, the ability to switch between three characters adds a great deal of variety to the standard point-and-click gameplay. The story is just as engrossing as the first one, full of intrigue that made me want to see how everything would play out.
While The Last Wind Monk does stand on its own, I would recommend playing the first game beforehand. You do get a recap of sorts in this game, but playing the first one lets you truly invest yourself in this world and its characters. I feel as though I wouldn’t be connected with Robert and his overall growth had I not already been exposed to his first adventure. However, if you do choose to only partake in The Last Wind Monk, rest assured that you will be faced with an engrossing story, a compelling world, and the kind of gameplay on a point-and-click adventure game can provide you.
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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