|PLATFORMS||Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC/Steam|
Shoutout to EVOLVE PR as well as Aspyr Media for providing me with a code for the game. Also, kudos on providing a simple guide to go along with it! That should be a thing more often.
Story is a little difficult to talk about here. Reason being: InnerSpace is one of those games that doesn’t really have a story.
Well, that’s not completely true. There is a plot here, a minor one. You do have a main goal that you’re ultimately working towards – but it isn’t really the main focus of the game.
During the course of the game you play as the Cartographer – a sentient, possibly even sapient, AI that has been brought to life by the Archaeologist. The Archaeologist is your friend and guide for most of the game, and he or she has brought you into being in order to help them explore this strange world known as the Inverse.
Your ultimate goal is to study what lived here before and try to find a way out of this world. The overarching plot revolves around this – you spend time exploring each of the chambers of the Inverse, looking for relics and information on the Ancients that lived here before.
The relics – and the world itself – are really where the meat of the story really lies. The backstory of the Ancients, and finding out what happened to them as well as discovering the rather impressive things left behind – some of them not so inanimate – are where you’ll get most of your information.
Games like this are always more about discovering things on your own than hand feeding you plot points.
It can also be rather difficult to pull this off, especially if the world you’ve created is uninteresting.
That’s not the case here, fortunately.
The Inverse is certainly one of the coolest, most relaxing worlds I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring in a game. The story of the Ancients and the things that led to their downfall were interesting enough to keep me wanting to find out more about them – keep me hunting for relics and plugging along, diving into the waterwalls and soaring through the caves.
The game is honestly gorgeous.
My time was spent with the Playstation 4 version and so far, aesthetically, it’s one of my favorite games of the year.
The simplistic artstyle that PolyKnight decided to go with really lends itself well to the soothing but vibrant colors of each individual chamber of the Inverse. The music, too, works well for each chamber – no two areas look or sound the same. You’ll never confuse the Mornsea with the Dawnvessel.
Even the darkest areas of the game aren’t pitchblack nothingness – there is still color. There is still light.
Honestly, the worst thing I dealt with here, was the camera getting a bit wonky near walls – and a framerate dip of two every once in a blue moon.
These were issues that never really hindered my enjoyment, though – ever.
Even the character “voices” – which use the old gaming standby of simple sounds to emulate talking so that you aren’t just staring at text on the screen (Think Okami ) – have tones that don’t get grating. Like the music – these voices are soothing.
I honestly can’t find much fault with the presentation of this game. I really can’t.
Now we get to the part of the game that isn’t exactly the strong suit.
You see, InnerSpace is a game about exploration – and that’s it, really. There’s no combat – no enemies to worry about, no shooting or fighting of any kind. All you ever do, is fly your ship around (Called an “Airframe”, by the way) and smack it into things.
No really – that’s the main gameplay here. See a switch? Smack your ship into it to activate it. See glowing cracks in a wall? Smack your ship through them to open up a passage.
See a collectible? You guessed it – donk it with your ship.
However – none of this is a bad thing. Because the game isn’t about destruction or killing – it’s about finding and exploring. It doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need 20 guns and 10 varieties of missile on your ship.
You have a very simple control setup. A drift button (LB/L1) which allows you to make tight turns as well a boost ahead slightly. A dive button (RB/R1) which lets you, well, dive down into the water. Combining drifting and diving can help you to maneuver around the world very quickly – it’s a good idea to practice them.
You control your ship’s pitch and yaw with the left stick, and its speed with the right stick.
Yep – that’s all there is to know. Like I said – simple.
Using those extremely simple controls – you will pilot your airframe around the different chambers of the Inverse, solving puzzles, collecting relics and collecting Wind to power said relics as well as other things in the environments.
There’s not really much else to say. As you collect relics, you’ll upgrade the stats of your airframe, allowing you to move faster, turn easier, etc. You’ll also unlock new airframes to pilot, each with their own statistics and each suited to specific areas usually.
Outside of figuring out the history of the Inverse, this will be your main reason for collecting the relics.
As you get closer to the end of the game, you’ll have to deal with some slightly tricky flying segments, but they’re nothing impossible and require just a little bit of skill with the simple controls.
Long story short – there isn’t much to come back for in InnerSpace.
There are a handful of trophies & achievements that you can get on a single playthrough – and that single playthrough will only last about 3-4 hours, maybe a little longer if you happen to get stuck in a section.
There’s no real reason to start up a new playthrough, other than the fact you enjoyed the game and want to go through it again.
It’s a little disappointing, but at the same time – I don’t really think it needed anything to pad out the experience. Anything more would have felt forced.
Even though the game is a bit short and can be completed in just a few hours – it’s worth checking out if you enjoy games like Journey, Flower and flOw.
It shares a special place with games like that – simple games that are more about the experience you have while playing it than anything else.
Plus, it’s only $20 – that’s a rather fair price for something this relaxing and serene.
All in all, InnerSpace was a fun, relaxing time – if a bit short and light on overall content.
I enjoyed my time in this world – and will gladly go back to it if ever I’m in need of some stress relief – the soothing colors, gentle music, and smooth exploration are a great way to unwind.