InnerSpace, the debut title from PolyKnight Games has launched for the Nintendo Switch. Boasting an elegant art style and polished design, it joins a multitude of polished indie games that have featured on the console thus far.
The question is, how does it fare? The Switch provides an incredible platform by which to play both as a handheld and home console. However, throughout the past year with the Switch, the one complaint I’d have is that at times it feels a bit “janky”. Yes, you heard me right. Neither Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild brought this feeling, they felt well balanced with controls and managed to perfectly balance the camera angles for the Switch’s tablet-like display. Whilst incredibly enjoyable, Bethesda’s remaster of the ever-popular Skyrim, perfectly encapsulates this feeling. There’s an awkwardness at times between the controls and the size of the screen which makes the game harder to play than it is on the Xbox or PlayStation. Whilst it is true that you can buy separate controllers and accessories to help ease these teething problems, it’s important to acknowledge these problems as the Switch only ships with Joy-Con’s.
Boasting an elegant art style and polished design, it joins a multitude of polished indie games that have featured on the console thus far.
Strangely, InnerSpace sits between the two polar positions. It’s certainly not quite as frustrating as at times Skyrim has felt, however, the nature of its flight exploration and tricky controls plays both as a testament to its design and a detriment to experience. Once mastered, the game is quite enjoyable however the nature of the control system on the small screen at times felt a bit cramped during the learning curve.
Reminiscent of titles such as Journey, Abzu and to a lesser degree No Man’s Sky, InnerSpace has a lot to celebrate in terms of its exploration. A wide range of diverse skylines decorates the title with colour and vibrancy. The game’s loosely driven plot focuses on your interaction with a group of archaeologists who’ve tasked you with the role of researching a range of planets as the wane into their final days of existence. The isn’t something that the game should apologise for either, a tighter narrative would likely restrict the sense of freedom and liberation that the game so beautifully presents. The mix between flight and deep-sea exploration adds two distinct realms in which to uncover a range of hidden gems and scenic masterpieces.
Whilst InnerSpace certainly gives back as much as you put into it, at times, it does so in a convoluted manner. Occasionally throughout the various puzzles presented to you across its vast environments, the game will attempt to give you direction, pointing you in the general path of progression that its narrative path has dictated. Unfortunately, it often does so with a vague arrogance which can feel unhelpful and at times monotonous. In terms of progression, the game is slightly off the pace, and this could be enough to deter players in the early stages of the title.
Along the way, the game tasks you in locating and uncovering relics. Whilst optional, the world design creates a range of biomes in which seeking out these hidden gems doesn’t feel monotonous or grating. For a small indie game, a great level of detail has been implemented into the title’s lore. Each planet you discover has its own narrative for you to uncover paired with various hints to the past civilisations that have stood before you. In many ways, the plot to InnerSpace is not one fuelled by joy or pleasantries. It tells a tale of death, of the end of days. But, in doing so it presents a beauty and fragility to life, through which we can distinguish our role as an observer.
InnerSpace is a game that allows you to relax. If you’re looking to de-stress and unwind then there are fewer titles that will bring the same sense of joy and tranquillity on Nintendo’s latest console. Whilst at first the control scheme may pose a challenging task to surmount, once mastered the game opens up into a beautiful canvas in which it allows you to paint your own path of exploration.
This copy of InnerSpace was provided as a review code to our editor-in-chief, Jared Moore. He spent around 6 hours flying around the various skylines wondering whether there was a point to his existence.