By Marty Mulrooney
The Inner World is a German point-and-click adventure game created by Studio Fizbin and published by Headup Games. Alternative Magazine Online reviewed the PC version in October 2013, describing it as “the most pleasant surprise to come along within the adventure genre for a very long time indeed.” AMO was therefore delighted when the story of Robert the ‘flute-nose’ was recently made available for iOS via the App Store – that’s right, the world of Asposia now fits right in your pocket!
For those unfamiliar with the PC and Mac versions of The Inner World, the game is set in Asposia, a hollow world situated within a universe of infinite soil. The world’s air was once supplied by three wind fountains, but the wind gods – the dragon-like Basylians – became angry and as a result, many of the Asposians were turned to stone.
Players take control of Robert, the young ‘flute-nosed’ apprentice to Abbot Conroy, who watches greedily over the last remaining wind fountain and in turn rules over Asposia. Conroy hasn’t been entirely truthful with Robert – when he accidentally finds himself outside the palace, he quickly gets caught up in an adventure with a mysterious young girl named Laura. His journey will determine the fate of Asposia and finally reveal the long-forgotten and shocking truth of Conroy’s betrayal…
For more information about the core game itself, which still “offers a solid 6-8 hour treat for adventure fans that shouldn’t be missed”, please read AMO’s original review for the PC version here. The remainder of this review will focus specifically on the iOS version of the game, which AMO played on an iPhone 4S.
It must be said, first impressions were extremely disappointing. Clicking the question mark icon for a hint crashed and exited the game. The App Store said the size was 1.3 GB, but the iPhone said it took up 2 GB of space. Sometimes the skip cutscene button wouldn’t work, so you’d be forced to watch the entire video. Selecting the in-game manual loaded a developer screen where you could jump to any section of the game, or press the wrench icon to give yourself any inventory item. Finally, when you tried to delete a saved game from the main menu, the screen asking you if you were sure with yes/no options didn’t respond, effectively freezing the game.
Shortly after release, Headup Games posted a highly apologetic message via social media, assuring players around the world that they were aware of the technical problems with the game on some devices, and offering assurance that the developer was working on this with the highest priority possible. The Inner World is actually the young Studio Fizbin’s first release and AMO therefore decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, patiently waiting for an update. Thankfully, one came soon after this heartfelt message of apology and all of the previously mentioned issues (apart from the size, which is still a healthy 2 GB) were fixed!
The result is one of the best adventure games of recent years running and playing beautifully on iOS. On a smaller iPhone screen the graphics look even sharper than they did on PC and the cutscenes actually benefit from the reduced resolution, making the transitions from gameplay to video sequence and back again practically seamless. The touch controls are highly intuitive (with only a slight delay between tapping and Robert reacting) and the only real issue to be found is that sometimes the ‘skip’ button during cutscenes can be a bit fussy about where you actually tapped.
The Inner World for iOS is a superb port that finally got there in the end. Studio Fizbin is to be commended for not only making a fantastic game, but making sure that the iOS version maintained the quality of its big brother on PC and Mac. Your platform of choice will mostly boil down to preference – do you prefer aiming your finger and tapping, or pointing and clicking with a mouse? Do you like settling down in a comfy chair in front of a big screen, or snuggling in bed bathed in the glow of your phone display? Whatever your preferred method of experiencing The Inner World, AMO stands by its original review: the most pleasant surprise to come along within the adventure genre for a very long time indeed.
9 OUT OF 10