It’s been a long, long time since an old-fashioned point and click game made its way on to my TV screen. Like survival horror, you could argue that it’s a genre that has declined in popularity over the years, becoming a fond memory of yesteryear. More recently, Telltale’s award-winning Walking Dead series has adapted the formula into a more modern format, and whilst it certainly shares elements with those relics, you wouldn’t put it into the same category as titles such as The Tales of Monkey Island.
Regardless of who or what is responsible for the continued popularity of the point and click genre, it can only be a good thing, because Headup Games’ The Inner World is a good example of how entertaining they can be.
Your adventure takes place on Asposia, a world where its inhabitants reside underground and live by being supplied with fresh air from gigantic wind tunnels. 15 years prior to your introduction to the Asposians, the wind gods - Basylians - came through the tunnels and started turning the stripy-limbed humanoids into stone, shutting the tunnels down in the process.
You take control of Robert in the middle of this crisis. A sheltered, softly-spoken boy who lives in Asposia’s palace under its ruler; Conroy. The pope-esque father figure to Robert hides a dark secret to the Basylians, and Robert inadvertently sets out to discover what’s happened when Conroy’s magical amulet is stolen by a sausage-shaped pigeon.
As you’d expect, controls are rather simple. Interacting with your environment is handled by the mouse. Movement too is a simple case of clicking where you want to go and the same goes for item management in the easy to navigate, minimalist inventory.
Robert’s naivety lessens as he progresses. Helped along by Laura - his crush and a rebel intent on bringing the corrupt Conrad down - the two of them solve a heap of puzzles on their journey across Asposia. The relationship between the two is heartwarming (helped by good voice acting) and ensures the story and problem solving go hand in hand.
Both together form the backbone of Inner World, and whilst the logic of the game can at times be rather strained, the in-game hint system is an excellent remedy that provides detailed nods if you happen to get stuck. If you want, you can abuse the hint system to make yourself look like a genius whilst just enjoying the intriguing narrative.
It’s worth following too as Headups’ writing provides some genuine titters at times, exhibiting the same kind of dual adult/child appeal that you’d find in a Disney Pixar flick. Inner World’s biggest letdown though is the lack of replayability. Being a traditional point and click, RPG elements such as multiple choice and alternate endings are absent. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, but the lack of additional content makes the price feel a bit steep.
At four hours for a rushed playthrough, the value isn’t terrible, and if you don’t piggyback on the hint system like yours truly for most of the more difficult sections, you’re likely to find the journey takes up a few additional hours of your time.
However you decide to play it, Inner World has an enjoyable and attractive atmosphere with likable characters and a smart - if predictable - narrative to go with it. With a replayability level that’s almost nil though, there isn’t much reason to pick it up a second time.