Holy Fosfos in a can!
There is an evil force known as the Basylians, an army of dragons who have been turning people to stone with their fancy marble eyes. You play as Robert, a young man with a flute for a nose who, while attempting to catch a pigeon, ends up falling down a garbage chute, he then decides to embark on an epic quest to save the world. Robert lives on a planet called Asposia located in a universe filled entirely with soil, wind temples are keeping the population of the planet alive, but only one wind fountain remains working. The player learns all of this in the first five minutes of The Inner World – another game in the re-emerging point and click genre that PC gamers have come to know and love.
Almost immediately after falling down the aforementioned garbage chute you meet Laura, a tramp who is wanted and hunted by the authorities for being the only daring to question the current situation in Asposia. Sadly this character fits a trope list about a mile long, the most obvious love interest, obnoxiously sarcastic sidekick, and the least likely to wear trousers.
Pete or Steve – depending on which of his split personalities you are talking to at the time – is another character worth noting. Pete is a know-nothing busybody bureaucrat who attempts to pull rank even when no one else is around. Steve on the other hand is quite knowledgeable and seeks to help Robert in furthering his quest all this while being trapped inside a mirror.
As The Inner World proceeds you get the feeling that something evil is happening and it has nothing to do with the Basylians and everything to do with the monk-ruler, and Robert’s adopted father, Connor. Citizens are expected to confess their sins in a machine called a Sin-O-Mat to be measured and punished in some of the most silly and slapstick ways possible. Eventually you meet a character so sinful, confessing her sins to the machine leaves it broken and practically begging to be held.
The game boasts a detailed hint system that goes from giving you a subtle clue to bludgeoning you over the head with the answer. This definitely comes in handy for a few parts of the game where puzzle solutions aren’t exactly obvious.
The Inner World is a beautifully hand drawn game featuring fluid animations. The team did an excellent job of breathing life into Asposia. Sadly, some issues arise when combining objects in the game. Combining one object with another results in an erratic animation sequence that is really rough around the edges.
Musically The Inner World really shines. Roberts’s innocence, and the gravity of the situation facing him and his friends, is reflected well in the game’s score.
Glitches, bugs, and an overabundance of loading hinder this otherwise brilliant experience. A few of the in-game signs suddenly switch languages. The development studio is German so this is understandable but the QA folks should have caught this early on in the process of testing.
Sadly, the game will sometimes lock up when you load a save, forcing you to either reload the save or close the game completely. Additionally, some of the game’s achievements are glitched. Loading screens also become a bit of a problem as they pop up every time you enter into a new screen. This wouldn’t be unexpected in a game from the late 90s but now things should be a bit faster than that.
The Inner World is a game with as many great moments as it does issues. The game features loveable characters but many of them fit neatly into the realm of cliché. Dialog will find you sometimes laughing out loud, even when it offers absolutely no help in what you are supposed to do next. The storyline itself is a bit pedestrian, but if you are a fan of the point and click genre you owe it to yourself to enter into The Inner World and explore every nook and cranny.