The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk
Developed By: Fizbin Studios
Published By: Headup Games
Category: Adventure, Puzzle
Release Date: 7.18.18
Last week I reviewed The Inner World and this week we’ll take a look at the sequel. Originally released in 2017, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk debuted on the Nintendo Switch this July. It’s a worthy sequel to its predecessor, but it strikes a different tone and a shift in the scale of the game’s locations introduces a new problem.
Story (Spoilers for The Inner World follow)
Three years after Robert put a stop to Conroy’s plan to rule the world of Asposia by turning everyone but himself to stone, a new fascist ruler named Emil has sprung up in Conroy’s place. Using some very unsettling Nazi-like iconography, Emil has organized a political group known as the Conroyalists. Their driving belief is that the flute-nosed Asposians where responsible for all of Conroy’s crimes, and that they had murdered the fallen wind monk after he had foiled them. This is a total lie, obviously, but the public eats it up because Emil is loud and angry enough. He and his group are rounding up flute-nosed Asposians to throw them all into giant pits to appease the wind gods so that they will revive Conroy. Who better than the king of the flute-noses to stop Emil and clear their good name? According to Robert, anyone but him.
One of the hallmarks of the first game was its lighthearted nature; despite the world-in-peril plotline, the game never lost its sense of fun and adventure. The Last Wind Monk, on the other hand, is a way more serious game. While there are still various funny asides peppered into the dialogue, the game gets kind of heavy with its impending genocide/burgeoning fascist dystopia main plotline. It was still a really engaging story, but whereas I finished the first game in one sitting, I had to take a break or two with the sequel.
The game’s mechanics don’t work any differently than they did in the first game. It’s a standard point and click adventure just like it’s predecessor; you interact with and collect items in your surroundings to solve logic puzzles. There’s a handy button that shows you what items can be used or taken, but it only shows items in a certain range. The stages tend to be larger than they were in the first game, which does make for a longer game in general, but it also introduces new problems. For one, the fact that items can only be detected within a certain range of your character makes it pretty easy to miss on item. I never really figured out what the detection range was, however. On a few occasions, I discovered I had missed an item I needed because I hadn’t explored thoroughly enough, even though I thought I had already gone as far as I could in every direction.
The larger stages create another issue for the game. Each chapter takes place in a location that has three or four different settings. Every time you change settings, the game loads for a few seconds, Typical load times are around fifteen to twenty seconds, which isn’t bad on its own, but when you have to travel from one setting to another it starts to add up. If you solve a puzzle in one setting and then have to run to the farthest setting, you have to go through a loading screen three times. Sound stops on the load screens, as well, so you often spend a lot of time in silence. So, while the length of the loading screens wasn’t bad, necessarily, the frequency killed immersion in the story.
The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk looks almost exactly the same as its predecessor, just sharper. The gorgeous backgrounds are maintained, and continue to create a vibrant world for the characters to inhabit. The character designs are slick and cartoony like they were the first time, but they were noticeably better animated and sharper than in the first game. The lip sync animations were better in the sequel, also, which was nice to see. In a nutshell, The Last Wind Monk is nicer looking than its prequel.
Like the first game, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk is fully voice-acted. Once again, the performers give great performances. In addition to main characters Robert and Laura, who reprise their roles magnificently, the actor who voiced Emil did a bang-up job. His Frank Underwood-esque delivery as Emil was sinister and foreboding. He was deeper and more compelling as a villain than Conroy was, and a big part of that was the fantastic voice work he was provided.
The Last Wind Monk uses touch controls, but it doesn’t use any motion controls. I actually found a combination of Joycon and touch controls in the Switch’s undocked mode to be the most practical way to play. You can use just a Joycon, but if you do that you will often find yourself cycling through targets before finally getting to the one you want. So, for that reason, I recommend The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk for undocked play on the Nintendo Switch.
TL;DR: Great sequel with a few streamlining issues.