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InnerSpace – Gorgeous but Disjunctive Game

The background that is provided to you by the game is that the “Inverse” was created by Wind and it is this wind that keeps the Inverse intact. An ancient civilization built a network to harness the energy of the Wind but eventually this ancient civilization fell to demigods that drained the power of the Inverse. The Archaeologist has been sent out by some unknown civilization to explore and discover the secrets of the Inverse and the power of the Wind that was harnessed by the ancients. To assist in this task the Archaeologist creates an airframe to explore places which it cannot due to its limitations of only being able to navigate waterways.

The gameplay has you take on the role of the airframe that the Archaeologist has created to explore the skies and places you can not reach. As you progress through the game, you collect relics and energy which are delivered to the Archaeologist for analysis and then eventually upgrading your airframe with new capabilities such as being able to navigate underwater or faster speed. You use these abilities that is provided to the airframe to solve puzzles and discover secrets found in every level.

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Innerspace has a beautiful environment and palette that combines with the sound to set a mesmerizing environment that feels like it has been left behind by an ancient civilization. With each destroyed wall or opened secret I felt like I was intruding and disrupting a part of history that had been sitting undisturbed for millenia. The game brought back memories of Flower and Journey with its very soothing yet open vistas. The game is about discovery and exploring the vast environment that was left behind by the ancients. The environments contained puzzles and hidden areas that you need to solve and discover in order to find all the ancient relics that provide you with upgrades to your airframe. Each of these upgrades were unique and provided very interesting changes that were not only visual or mechanical but also audibly different. An example of this was the Piano Airframe, which allowed you to dive underwater, but when you made yaw changes, the wings would play notes similar to ones you would hear from playing piano keys.

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The biggest challenges with the game came in two forms. First, the puzzles were oftentimes confusing, there were “boss” puzzles where no guidance was provided except a very generic clue, and you could spend hours or minutes trying to figure out what to do and then actually do it. This led to many points of frustration that sometimes had me throwing my hands up and fighting the urge to not look at a walkthrough to figure out how to progress to the next level. Secondly, the games beautiful vistas and sense of awe and wonder were constantly being interrupted by the Archaeologist. While the Archaeologist was there to help drive the story forward and provide background to the relics you could find, the constant interruptions from said Archaeologist as you are in the middle of soaring through some gorgeous vistas really pulled you instantly out of the nature of exploring and more into feeling like a tool that is only used to collect data for the Archaeologist to process. This is a real issue with a game whose core mechanic is flying around to explore and discover and is completely ruined by constantly having to check in with homebase and starting that exploration again.

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The game also has a “durability” mechanic where if you hit the walls or crash into objects too much you can break, but I found it considerably hard to hit that threshold, even in the basic airframe, and even if you got to that point it was just a quick reset to an earlier savepoint which did not put you back too far.

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Innerspace is such a beautiful game with it’s colors and the sense of serene freedom of flying through the skies. The emptiness around you really makes you feel like you are exploring some truly ancient civilization that existed such a long time ago. But many of the flaws instantly disengage you from this serene and magnificent sense of exploration and mar the experience that the studio tried to create. The story could have easily progressed through other mechanics that wouldn’t have taken you out of the beauty and wonder that was created. Redonkulous Gaming gives InnerSpace a 6 out of 10.

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