Whimsical, funny, and weird. These are just a few of the words that I think of when I think about the game “The Inner World”. Originally an indie PC game, the Xbox One port is coming later this week. The game takes place in a universe that only consists of soil, and deep inside is a spherical world that is call Asposia. In Asposia, the air comes from three wind fountains. But slowly, the winds have died causing the lights to go out in this world. Since light and warmth were powered from harnessing the wind, this also means there’s no warmth. With only cold and darkness present now, “wind gods”, who turn the Asposians into stone have emerged. There is only one wind fountain still blowing, and it is guarded by the abbot Conroy. Conroy is the leader of the Asposians and preaches to them every day about austerity and obedience. Conroy has an apprentice named Robert, who is the main protagonist in the game.
The game starts after a cut scene where Robert is shown polishing abbot Conroy’s pendant. While Robert is cleaning the pendant, a bird flies in and steals the pendant. As Robert is trying to get the pendant back, he falls in the trash chute and that leads us to the start of the game. This game is a true point and click game by every sense of the word. You will have to use the joysticks just to move from one part of the scene to the other, but you cannot walk through an alley or a building. Each scene has different commands that you will use to do different things. For example, in the first scene the pigeon is on a second-floor window sill, and you must try to catch the pigeon to get the pendant back. But there are a lot of different things you must do in this one scene to be able to do that.
There are many different things that you must investigate by clicking on an icon that looks like a magnifying glass. When you do this, Robert will tell you a little bit about that object or person. Then from there you will see another icon that is a hand. This is how you will pick things up and use them. You’ll also see a plus sign above the objects or people you are interacting with. This is how you can use an item to interact with whatever it is you are looking at. For example, if you are looking at a person who is looking for a hat and you happen to have one in your inventory, you will click on the person then click on the plus sign. After that, the inventory screen will pop up and you will then find the item and select it which will give it to that person. The way the controls work is a little tricky and seem a little clunky. As I played through this game, I could tell that this game was made for PC first and they decided to make a port of it for consoles. Another part of the game that was very repetitive and seemed to drag on was when Robert would talk to other characters.
The interaction between Robert and the other characters in the game seem to be what takes most of the time to get through. The way you get most of the information and the clues in this game is by talking to different people. The problem with this is that you might have to talk to someone for five minutes just to get one small detail out of that person. The way you talk to people is just like how you would interact with an object. A speech bubble icon will pop up and you click on the bubble. Then, from there, at the bottom of the screen there will be a couple of icons. Click on these icons one at a time and Robert will talk to the other character about whatever that icon is. This got very repetitive and I found myself clicking through the icons and dialog very quickly just so I could advance in the game.
With all this being said, there were some interesting aspects to the game. The art style was really impressive. My 18 month old son laid on the floor and watched me play this game because it looked like a cartoon to him. Most of the voice acting in the game fit the characters well, but the mouths did not move with the words that the characters were saying at all. It looked like an old anime when it came to this. The story line was interesting and had a few twists and turns to keep me playing.
“The Inner World” is an interesting point and click adventure, but I feel like a lot of emotion and connection between the characters and the player is lost due to this fact. I believe if I would have played this game on PC first I might have liked it a little bit more. Playing it on console, having to use clunky controls, and the fact that it takes so long to get through scenes seemed to take a lot of the excitement out of what had the chance to be a really good game.