The Inner World Review
About 3 weeks ago, I received a copy of The Inner World. Unfortunately, I was busy when I first got it and put off reviewing it until last week. What a mistake that was! This game is delightfully charming and was a pleasure to play. It made me think in ways I don’t normally, and when I couldn’t find the answer, had a well-planned hint system that gives you only what you need to find your spark. The controls were simple, but I had one major gripe. I also had one bug I saw that wasn't really a big deal. Basically, save your self some time and get the time.
The story starts off with you, Robert, an Asposian with a deformity, chasing after a pigeon that stole a trinket from your bitter guardian. This is the first chance Robert had to get away from the monastery where he was raised, so he quickly leaps into action. Along the way, he meets a lot of interesting characters, like Laura. In Robert’s efforts to procure the trinket, he becomes infatuated with her, and she quickly becomes integral in solving the mystery that begins to unfold. Robert quickly uncovers his true origins, and why his deformity is actually very important.
Overall, I would say the story is pretty transparent. It quickly becomes apparent that the main character has a case of “The Chosen One”. They pretty well lampshade this in the opening scenes of the game. The story is also pretty short. HOWEVER, the characters are all so darn lovable and unique that they more than counteract the short-lived story. I actually found myself pursuing more dialog just to see how they interact with each other. Seriously. The swamp was probably the best part of the game. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
This game has surprisingly pretty graphics. I thought the game was going to be another game that just has an odd style for the sake of it, but the crisp outlines and sharp colors really add to the atmosphere and help drive home the idea of this alien environment. I also found the more limited color palette to lend to that as well. It almost gives it a… Adventure Time meets Tim Burton feel.
The music is also delightfully simple. It is slightly above elevator music, but since most of the time you will be racking your mind trying to piece together the riddles, it will help soothe you. It sure helped me.
The cinematics were sparse but purposeful. Early in the game, the usage seems to lean more towards helping draw attention to specific parts of the environment. This helps to deliver hints about with which objects you would need interact. As you get used to the game, this is incredibly useful. However, I felt there is a definite shift towards then end of the game. As the story becomes delivered less in sporadic dialogs and more in the cinematics, the quality really increases.
However, the controls were the first complaint I had with the game. It was often hard to navigate the areas, and then the objects you can actually interact with only have their icon if you are close to them, which is hard to do because the areas are hard to navigate. See the cycle? That often leads to an issue where you don’t see a vital clue even if you turn on the object interaction mode. Having said that, the controls are pretty simple and easy to learn. On the XBox One, one have one control stick to move around the environment. As you move around, you can press a button to let you interact with objects, then select one. This brings up a contextual menu where you can combine it with other items, use it, or just inspect it. That is pretty much it. The game is really simple to control, which works out in its favor.
Other than that, this game is solid. The puzzles can be a bit contrived, but often each thing is done for a reason. If they bother to add something into the game, you can be almost certain you will need it to solve a riddle. The biggest example I can think of is this group of moths that molt and change color based on what is behind them. If you aren’t paying super close attention, you will miss it. Not only that, but you will also fail to realize it is key to a later riddle, and that kind of thing drives me mad. It is fair game in puzzlers like this. But man, it is hard for me to pick up on that.
The only real bug I had in this was that the background music would sometime turnoff. But that is sometimes refreshing. The silence clears your mind and enables you to focus on piecing all the small parts together.
Overall, if you like puzzle games, this is a buy when it comes to the Xbox One. It is a solid game with a unique art style. Plus, there is a sequel coming out soon that if you snag this in time, you shouldn’t have to wait too long to pick up.
Final Score 4 out of 5
I played this game on the Xbox One, but the game is also available for PC and Mac per the website. If you want to know the exact specs, you can check the Steam page before purchasing. It doesn’t take much to run this game, so you’ll probably be safe even on a laptop. I also wanted to take the time to thank the developers, Studio Fizbin, for providing us this copy.