Playing games is a lot like going to work. There’s a ton of stuff to do and that list seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Thanks Assassin’s Creed and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Grand Theft Auto meanwhile will set you fierce deadlines to meet and a never ending series of meetings to involve yourself in. There is also the overbearing constant pressures of death. Quite literally. Sometimes I finish a night of gaming and can’t sleep because I am left worrying about all the things I have to do the next night.
But occasionally a game will come along where the music is soothing and the gameplay relaxing; there’s no pressure, no death and no deadlines. It’s all about the journey and the experience. That game is Innerspace.
Innerspace is a game I have enjoying relaxing in. It’s like a spa, but much cheaper and without the free enema. Beginning life as a project among college friends that evolved into a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, after years of development, PolyKnight is proud to welcome you to the Inverse.
The game is set in the final days of the Inverse, where your job is to help the Archaeologist recover the last remaining memories before they are lost forever. These memories come in the shape of priceless relics, the final messages from extinct civilisations that once ruled the Inverse. You do this by flying through the ancient skies and abandoned oceans to discover the lost history of this fading realm, where entire civilisations have died, yet their gods still wander.
Yes, Innerspace is an exploration flying game, a world of inside-out planets where gravity pulls outwards instead of in. It is a game that is all about exploration, taking your time in the air and enjoying that time to discover the secrets it holds. You start proceedings with a normal little plane, which is controlled like any other plane in any other game. Pull back on the stick to go up and push up to go down. Simple. You can action tight turns, spins, and twirls, as well as acceleration thrusts and pulling on the brakes to slow the aircraft down. After the first level there are upgrades that invert the wings and enable you to dive underwater to explore the watery depths below. But the big question is what do you actually do?
Well, that can be the downside of this intriguing game, because there are times when you will get lost. Very lost indeed. But it’s all about slowing down your gamer clock, turning up the music and just enjoying the wander and exploration of the world. The way through a level will eventually be revealed, but there’s no rush, not when this experience is so damn relaxing. There are times when you do get a feeling of motion sickness, spinning and turning too often, but that’s the time to switch off and come back to it later.
The gameplay consists of collecting relics from around these colourful worlds, opening them and trying to work out their secrets. Then there are these items called Wind (which are basically white spherical blobs) that can help you gain more secrets and open portals. In one level you might have to fly and operate lots of switches so that you can open a portal to another dimension. In another, you will find yourself trapped in a huge space whale in order to free the Demi-god and progress through the story. The switching between air and sea never gets boring and it is a delight to traverse between both worlds instantly.
The premise and story are very original too, and even when things do get a bit new age mystic, it’s still very clever and interesting. It reminds me of Journey, another game that is a lot to do with the visuals.
The looks of Innerspace are lovely with the beautiful, strange and twisted broken universe playing host to your experience. It is very colourful and there is a good mixture of alien plant life, majestic machinery, and huge god-like creatures. The plane itself and its different variations are pretty and I especially like the relics and the brilliant way they are designed like a mechanical toy set. In the sound and audio department and it’s all about chilling out to an almost constant trance track of gentle tones and beats. If I ever found myself lying at the bottom of a flotation tank I would want this soundtrack playing through the cold water as I lay there in the darkness.
I have loved, and am still loving, spending relaxing moments in Innerspace. It’s not a game that is going to be for everyone, and there are problems with direction, getting lost, and the onset of motion sickness. But overall it works great. It’s a relaxing journey that will see you come in from a hard day’s work, get a green tea or double vodka on the go, before letting you involve yourself in the wonder that is Innerspace.