The Inner World is a classic point and click set in the hand-drawn, 2D world of Asposia; a mysterious land ruled by the Wind Gods which supply … well, wind. As the wind fountains lose power and the Wind Gods befall the beautiful lands, you take control of Robert (nope, there’s no badass RPG names around here), a very naive, naive-ful and very naive-ish (he’s VERY naive) young boy who’s spent his life (as far as he can remember) as a squire/court musician in the last wind monastery which is ruled (or dictated) by the honoured master Conroy.
Robert has always felt out of place – not because he has a third eye or magical powers but because everyone else in The Inner World has striped noses and Robert… he has holes. Yes, his nose is basically a flute – well, he is a musician.
The game begins with a pigeon stealing the grand-master’s “lucky charm” and Robert sets off to retrieve it – closely followed by a rather aggressive hedgehog sent by Conroy (something isn’t quite right about that guy). With the best of intentions and not a clue of how to do … erm, anything, Robert sets off to retrieve the locket and winds up on an adventure to save the world and return the Wind to the fountains. Along the way he teams up with Laura, a grumpy thief and her pet pigeon, Peck. as he travels the land meeting some strange (and hilarious) Asposians as well as a few animal critters.
At first, I had no idea what I was doing and there’s not really much of a tutorial, but it’s quite simply point and click your way through puzzles and traps to progress. You can “inspect” certain items, chat to the weird civilians and pick up items to pair them with other items and create new items that’ll help you reach the next step. It’s like a dumbed down version of Broken Sword on acid. Even if you do find yourself stuck on how to get to the next part of the story, just go to the menu and reveal the extremely informative hints (basically it just tells you where to go and what to do).
There’s really not much to this game but that doesn’t make it a bad game – in fact, once I set off with my “freak-nosed” pal, I realised my controller had trapped my thumbs for hours. The visuals are stylistically beautiful in the way they’re meant to be, the characters are witty, weird and wonderful and the puzzles do become a little more challenging as things move along (but again, remember the hints).
If you’re looking for something easy and fun to play or even a nice little gift to keep your kids busy (don’t listen to the baby boomers who say kids don’t spend enough time outside – we’re doing fine) this is probably a good one for you. It can get your brain ticking enough to be enjoyable but also gives you a nice set of hints (I can’t stress how much i love these hints) so you don’t get frustrated when your puzzle-solving abilities begin to fail you.
Regardless of how basic I may have made the game seem in this review, I did fall in love with it. The soundtrack, the visuals, the puzzles and, most of all, Asposia’s last hope: Robert. I do think a lot of heart has gone into this game and it comes across so wonderfully through the depth of the world that has been built. I also suspect there may have been a few recreational drugs involved in the process as the hilariously bizarre dialogue proves a little whacky at times.
I would absolutely recommend this game to any of my friends who don’t mind parting with a couple of quid on the PlayStation, PC (or Mac) and even on android or iOS (there are probably other platforms too but I don’t have all day). Go on, join Robert as he tries to solve puzzles in Asposia, uncover Laura’s secrets, save the world and, above all else, discover why he has such a weird nose.
Karl Rating – 8/10
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