When you see a game about flying around an exploration-based campaign, you know you're in for a relaxing journey. InnerSpace is a peaceful and strange indie title but does it provide enough tangible gameplay to satisfy your gaming sensibilities?
InnerSpace tells an abstract story where the world of Inverse is ending so you must help the Archaeologist by retrieving memories before they're lost forever. If that sentence sounds unbearably pretentious then feel free to stop reading this review now because InnerSpace clearly won't be your cup of tea. Anyway, you assist the Archaeologist by soaring around somewhat large and intricate stages as a kite-like craft with six degrees of freedom controls. Besides using the two sticks to perform all aerial manoeuvres, you can tap the left shoulder button to work around sharp turns and the right to transform into a submarine and explore underwater locales. The stages mostly take place in the inside of spherical environments. In other words, there aren't any skylines as the levels merely wrap around in all directions. If you feel like your edibles are starting to kick in then hold tight because this is just the beginning.
The best part by far about InnerSpace is its presentation. The graphics are super-trippy complete with soft colours, unique environments, and a few odd creatures from time to time. Even the relics you collect can be interacted with and watching them come together is far out, dude. On top of all this, the audio is pitch-perfect. The music consists of gentle melodies that are so relaxing that you might fall asleep at the wheel. Meanwhile, the sound effects fit onscreen events beautifully whether you're rolling your ship or smacking into a wall. Overall, I can't complain at all about InnerSpace's sights and sounds so let's take a deeper look at its gameplay.
Flying around is generally a joy as the six degrees of freedom controls are tight and fairly intuitive once you take a brief moment to get used to them. As you soar through stages, you'll collect wind which takes the form of shiny collectibles as well as relics that are much harder to come by. In order to unlock further areas within an environment, you'll need to perform tasks such as flipping switches, cutting wires with your wings, and working out how to deal with certain creatures. Although the flying is relaxing, unearthing the collectibles can be a rewarding endeavor. That is, if you enjoy wandering around aimlessly. That's right; InnerSpace provides little guidance so figuring out how to progress requires far too much aimless wandering. Even once you discover something, you may need to fly away a bit in order to get a better angle. Once you turn around again, you might not be able to retrace your path which can be incredibly irritating.
Even though it's difficult to work out where to go and what to do and it's incredibly easy to get lost, InnerSpace essentially provides very little challenge. This is due to the fact that you can't really perish and there are no restrictions such as a time limit. You're basically invincible which somehow adds even more tedium to the overall experience. Even when you get trapped in a tight space and watch the visuals flip out for a few seconds, you'll just restart again with no penalty. That actually leads me to my next point; I found myself getting snagged in tight spaces more often than I should have because of the vague stage designs which was downright frustrating.
There's something irresistibly relaxing about non-violently gliding around the beautiful environments of InnerSpace. However, that calm feeling quickly turns into frustration whenever you realise that you haven't made any progress in hours.
- + Relaxing six degrees of freedom flying with tight controls
- + Stylish visuals and gorgeous audio
- + Rewarding assortment of collectibles
- - It's incredibly easy to get lost only to wander around aimlessly
- - Virtually no sense of challenge
- - Tight spaces can be very frustrating