Not many games deal with the flying mechanic as their primary mechanic. After all, the physics and controls tend to be hard to master. InnerSpace has tried their hand at it, placing flight through the air and swimming through water as their main mechanic, let’s see how they fair in it.
InnerSpace takes place in a fictional world where your main job is to assist a swimming fish-like archaeologist with his work to uncover the mysteries of the world around. When I mean world, I mean worlds, and when I mean around, I mean inside. Flying around the worlds is akin to flying inside them, the spherical worlds just wrap around you, sometimes giving you a little perspective issue on where’s up.
However all this is down quite well, as a result, the game was able to forego all the “flight metrics” like altitude, horizon level, etc., and have you just focus on the main thing, exploration.
Exploration is as good as the whole game in Inner Space and it does it reasonably well. Once you get settled in with the tutorials, there is almost no hand holding. There aren’t any pins on a map, there isn’t even a map. The only way to progress is to explore the world and uncover relics about the world’s hidden past.
Which can be frustrating at times, the little hints that the archaeologist gives does not always point you to any direction and because you are gliding, there is no way to stop midair other than in the white spheres around. You will find yourself missing much of the world as a result.
Still, as you scour the worlds to uncover its secrets, each discovery provides the needed motivation to continue your search.
Soar Through The Air, Dive Into The Depths
The game does a fantastic job of making the flight controls as intuitive as possible, of course, you can still invert the Y-axis if you feel like. You should not find any problem navigating through the skies or diving down in the deep. However, the tricky bit comes in between when transitioning between sea and sky. For getting into the water, it is just a simple press of a button and “plop”, under the sea you go. But to get out of the water, some getting used to is required, or else it will be just like a fish jumping out of water and back into it.
Still, even with the game’s friendly controls, flying can be a bit disorientating when inside of structures. The multiple enclosed structures, accompanied by the plane’s inability to brake just anywhere mid-flight, resulted in quite a huge number of wall crashes. Fortunately, crashing on the wall do not do damage to the airframe. Although there was once the game felt that I had trouble getting out of an enclosed space, like a fly in a room, and it teleported me out back into the open.
More Than Just Air Crashes
Now that you are used to crashing into objects, you should be mentally prepared for game crashes as well. Although it only happened to me once, it did take me by shock since I have never experienced a game crash on the Nintendo Switch before. Being ripped out of the game and back to the home menu with a crash notification really was a jarring experience that should never have happened.
Even that aside, the game does have quite a number of long loading screens. While I understand to that the game’s environment scale may require longer loading time, but it takes two loading screens from boot up to even get into the game. The first long load screen loads the save file selection, the second load screen loads the game.
Look Around! Much to See, Much to Hear!
Perhaps one of the games’s strongest point is in its art style. It’s minimalist, attention drawing colours, makes one continually have the urge to explore the environments around. It may not exactly replicate the real world, but it is precisely the way it does not try to replicate, that makes the game so mesmerising.
The artstyle, alongside with the subtle background sounds, makes the whole gameplay seem more immersive than it would have been. Flying around in the large environment doesn’t seem at all lonely and interacting with the environment seemed more fluid and natural than it should have been.
As a game that is all about exploration, this mastery of environment allowed the game to promote its core gameplay.
InnerSpace is a game that make you feel like there isn’t much to do, after all the game is only about exploration. Yet at the same time there is so much to do, there are worlds to explore, relics to recover. The singleminded focus on its core makes InnerSpace such a wonderful game. Sure the game has its pitfalls, and on occasion crashes. However deep down, InnerSpace is a game that successfully takes the niche flight simulation genre and simplifies it into an easily accessible, visually stunning, exploration games that is likely to appeal to most gamers foreign to it.
- Mesmerising artstyle
- Simple and accessible gameplay
- Does it’s core idea of exploration well
- Game crashed on me once and had a couple of long load times
- Confined areas can be very disorientating
- Game seemed like it can include a few more interesting things to do
Verdict: Plain Taste But Looks Awesome
A review code for InnerSpace was provided by Aspyr Media for the purpose of this review.