Innerspace Review

Developer: PolyKnight Games

Publisher: Aspyr

Release Date: January 16th, 2018

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC (Reviewed on PS4)

“What happens if I cut these wires? Oh, no wait, I want to go underwater… or should I give my collections to the Archaeologist for him to analyze? Nah, I should probably continue the story and go to the next portal. Oh! More lights to collect over here.” These were the thoughts rushing through my head as I was playing Innerspace, an interactive storyteller with a world built inside out (literally).

Innerspace is set in a separate set of worlds called the Inverse. The main player is a ship that was built by the Archaeologist, and the objective is to explore and collect relics in hopes of figuring out what happened to the previous civilizations. The twist is that the Inverse isn’t built in any way we’re used to: It is an inverse world where formations and structures are within the sphere and gravity is set on the outside of the sphere. I know. It’s hard to grasp at first, but it works. Trust me. It creates an interesting perspective of traversal while pushing the boundaries of creativity for level building.

From beginning to end, the game kept me intrigued, amazed, puzzled, and awed at the levels, art, and the controls.

Diving into the unknwon

The main objective is to explore all of Inverse’s worlds and collect enough relics to understand what happened to the Inverse’s inhabitants. Along the way, you’ll meet various demigods that have lived with these civilizations in harmony. The writing is minimal, but it delivers a great curiosity of what happened to the Inverse and how it became abandoned. The world building around each area is also fantastic. There is a center hub called the Sun Chamber which has a shining atmosphere, and every bit of structure/feature is unique.

Within the hub, there are portals that are open throughout the game that go to different worlds. Each world has its own theme with diverse features and colors. It is nice to see each world having a distinct atmosphere. I felt like I was flying through someone’s paintings–similar art style, but different features and qualities.

The controls are simple with some unique ideas to make them truly enjoyable. There are two modes: flying with the wings out and swimming which turns the ship into a submarine. The transition between these two modes is smooth with just a press of a button (R1 for PS4). The game is a flying simulator with the y-axis inverted (superior controls, but you can change it), but there is also an additional control that I found interesting. By holding the L1 button, you can change the face view of the ship while your direction stays constant. By letting go of the L1 button, you boost in the direction you’re facing. This mechanic enhances the maneuverability of the ship, especially in tight spaces.

So, where do I go from here

Collecting relics and sending them back to the Archaeologist at first sounds like a chore, but I was having too much fun exploring the levels to even think about that aspect. It is great to see the level design, but even cooler to discover collectibles hidden around the area. Some areas require slicing strings or rock formations to be open while others are hidden in narrow spaces that are rarely seen. That sense of discovery is what kept me going. The collectibles are nice, additions providing interesting facts about the previous civilizations based on the observations from the Archaeologist. A relic may even unlock other types of ships that represent the different worlds in the Inverse. These different ships change the way you traverse the world.

One thing I will complain about is the controls in tight spaces. Sometimes I would get into pocket of formations and lose control, constantly crashing into corners. This is certainly not game breaking, but it does break the flow of travel. Nonetheless, after every obstacle I got past, there was always a reward for the effort, whether it was a beautiful opening sight or some collectibles.

The light is sooo bright.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this game, but it did not give me a sincere hook. The collections and story are nice, but I’m not driven to come back. Nevertheless, The presentation is well put together, the level design is unique, the controls are tight, and the art style is breathtaking. PolyKnight Games have made a great debut, and I cannot wait to see what they will make in the future