I’d forgotten how bad I was at point-and-click games. It took me months to finish the Monkey Island Games and don’t get me started on the Broken Sword. However, it never stopped me trying and I have worked my way through Myst, Machinarium and more recently the Telltale games. For the last month, I have been re-energising the grey matter and attempting to complete The Inner World, a classic-style hand-drawn Adventure game from Studio Fizbin. So are the inner secrets of the weird world of Asposia worth exploring, or should you leave this retro point and click in the realms of nostalgia. Here is my review of The Inner World.
Asposia is a mysterious world, enormous hollow space surrounded by the endless soil and against all laws of physics. Asposia is ventilated solely through three wind fountains. When the wind starts to disappear, the people look to the last wind monastery for answers.
In The Inner World, you play Robert, a naive and cheerful apprentice in the last wind monastery. After a cheeky pigeon thrusts you on an unlikely adventure, you work your way through a series of set pieces jam packed with plenty of challenging puzzles. The dialogue is fantastic with witty dialogue with a multitude of bizarre characters. The Gorf in The Inner World is now one of my favourite characters, right up with Stan S Stanman from Monkey Island.
The hand-drawn art style is unique and obviously a labour of love. The music is unobtrusive and set the scene well, but it’s the story that will keep you playing as you unfold the twisting tale of a thief, a dictator, flying dragons and the missing wind.
The puzzles can be cryptic and I did find myself stumped on numerous occasions. Thankfully, the stepwise hint system allows you to get a series of hints before it simply tells you what to do. I loved this system as some of the puzzles were way beyond me. I eventually ended up trying to combine everything in the scene until the character started to mock me saying “That’s just a guess isn’t it”. As the game has an eight hour running time, after a couple of weeks I decided to utilise the help system more often.
The biggest drawback of the game, however, is the interface. Point and click adventures work so much better with a keyboard and mouse than a controller. To select the various hot spots players use the left and right trigger buttons and once selected there is an additional mention to look, add or action and the whole thing feels clunky and uncomfortable. After a couple of hours it does become easier but it never truly feels natural.
Overall, the voice acting, storyline and unique visuals will push you on through, however, some may not make it to the end due to the clunky controls. The help system is fantastic for both novice players and those with rusty point and click skills. The overall feel is a homage to those classic Lucas Arts adventures and it is genuinely funny. If you have the patience, The Inner World is worth a look.