InnerSpace is an adventure game developed by the team at PolyKnight Games and published by Aspyr. It’s first and foremost a mesmerising journey that focuses on gameplay and discovery. Exploring the world through the power of flight is such a win when done right, does this allow you to soar into the skies or just nose-dive into a pile of rubble?
The tagline ‘your greatest journey is within’ can mean one of two things to me, it could be a metaphor as to how our greatest journeys are the ones we embark on within ourselves. Alternatively, It could mean the one you encounter within the game itself, a small thing like a thought provoking sentence already gets the mind going and immersed into what awaits.
Straight away your subjected to a tutorial that almost disorientates you because of the surroundings, which is an empty room in which the walls are covered in checkered squares. Whilst tutorials are of course appreciated the controls were not shown on the screen and led to a much longer play time which consisted of me pressing every button on my keyboard to figure stuff out. Not a pleasant moment I can assure you.
Upon beginning the actual story, I was treated to a wonderful bit of backstory and given some instructions to follow for progression purposes. The first thing you notice that sticks out is the incredible visuals. By god, this is such a stunning work of art. If you can come to grips with the world being spherical, it surrounds you so no matter where you look you are seeing somewhere in the world you can get too. The all-encompassing world can be overwhelming at first, but when you spend a little more time with the controls and fly around more it gets easier on the eyes and mind.
The art style comes packed with vibrant colours which add to the mysterious beauty of each planet you venture into. There is a relaxing flow to each area simulated by the various effects in both motion and water. It truly is something you need to witness with your own eyes.
So, enough gushing about how it looks, what about the story. The Inverse is on its last legs, the goal is to recover memories before it’s too late and they disappear. The Archaeologist is your guide along the way, instructing you to carry on with its wishes in salvaging not only memories but relics that help modify and improve your ship. It’s modest and simple, you don’t truly appreciate the intricacies of its narrative until about the third main area when things begin piecing together and make more sense.
Video games are perhaps the best form of interactive entertainment, something that must be enjoyable within each title is how it feels, are the controls easy to navigate and is the gameplay loop rewarding and fun? Playing on PC using mouse and keyboard I felt I wasn’t getting the full experience, I honestly believe a controller would be the best way to play from both a button mapping standpoint and immersion.
There is a lot of ambition present trying to sell a flying game in which you traverse through a lot of tight spaces. It doesn’t quite pay off for me, bumping into things is especially jarring and I found it happening a lot. The controls aren’t intuitive, instead they were difficult to imprint inside my mind. Not only that, but the speed of the airframe seemed to change on a whim making it difficult to gauge distances causing me to miss many switches and entrances.
The music encountered within is just such a delight, from the soundtrack to the sound effects it instils this sense of relaxation and wonder, even when you crash half a dozen times into a wall and are trying to find which way is up.
Now, could I recommend this title? Sure, on the basis that you play with a controller and be prepared for a slight learning curve. Allow yourself to practice the controls and then just enjoy the adventure you are setting out on. Three of the core pillars that when well designed create something special are present here, the story, sound and visuals I cannot compliment the developers on more. If you are out for a challenge or even desire action, you won’t really find it here, instead put your feet up and submerge yourself in what InnerSpace has to offer.
OVERALL: 7/10 – GOOD
Written by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of InnerSpace, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)