InnerSpace by PolyKnight Games
InnerSpace is an ambient exploration-based flight game. Mixing airborne and underwater environments, InnerSpace offers a network of inverted worlds full of secrets to unravel. Each of these worlds operates like a kind of miniature Dyson sphere; the land and water are found on the outermost areas of an orb, while the central area is largely empty and navigable by air. PolyKnight Games have crafted a colorful exploration game that aspires to follow in the footsteps of relaxing adventure titles such as Abzu or Journey.
The game opens with a short introduction. The world of InnerSpace was once inhabited by a race now known as the Ancients. They have left behind numerous relics and it’s up to the player, in the form of an artificial drone (known as the cartographer) constructed by an archaeologist to find these artifacts and learn the story of this lost civilization. Working together with the archaeologist, who happens to be the last descendant of the Ancients, the cartographer must find relics and explore new chambers to learn the secrets of the past.
Blowin’ in the Wind
InnerSpace offers a relaxed flying and sub-nautical driving experience that only occasionally dips into real challenge when a speedier bit of flying is required. Outside of navigation, the game tasks the cartographer with seeking out hidden items and collecting “wind,” the game’s primary resource. I found all of these activities sufficiently engaging, if not exactly thrilling, but the biggest challenge within InnerSpace – and perhaps its biggest problem – is its tendency for vagueness when providing objectives.
The archaeologist serves as a reminder for current goals, but this doesn’t always provide information specific enough to know where to go and there are a few points throughout the game where it is easy to find oneself at a loss for how to proceed.
Oceans inside Earths
Visually InnerSpace is vibrant, although it does tend to focus primarily on the contrast between earthy tones and watery blues. The enclosed nature of InnerSpace can become a little claustrophobic, and navigating can be challenging thanks to the unusual environment and indistinct colour spectrum.
None of this detracts from the visual appeal of the game, but the aesthetic can sometimes, be harmful to InnerSpace’s gameplay. The music is relaxing and provides an appropriate ambiance for the unraveling mysteries of InnerSpace’s world. The sound effects are similarly on form, and they sometimes evoke a pleasing retro feel.
Lost in (Inner) Space
InnerSpace is an enjoyable ambient adventure game with an engaging atmosphere. The concept of exploring worlds based on the interior of a sphere is a novel one that goes a long way to setting InnerSpace apart, but it can also be disorientating and lead to dizzying crashes or losses of direction. The adventure itself provides mild puzzles, a few tricky flight challenges and a decent upgrade system, but this is all hampered by the game’s unwillingness to provide directions for a few of its more obtuse objectives.
InnerSpace won’t be unseating any of the genre’s leading titles, but if you don’t mind getting lost from time to time then it can be a fun distraction.
InnerSpace is available via the Nintendo Game Store, the Sony PlayStation Store and Steam.
Watch the official trailer for InnerSpace below: