It's refreshing to play a game like The Inner World that creatively uses its inspirations as stepping stones rather than an image to cheaply impersonate. Independent developers, Studio Fizbin, heeded what made the classic adventure games the criterions of the genre, and strove to create something that could stand honorably alongside them. An immediate indication of this is the gorgeous hand-drawn art style that captures the remarkable essence of titles like Broken Sword. The artists subtly use a wide array of colors to strikingly give the world of Asposia a unique alive, although faded tonality. It's easy to stop just to take a moment and let the artwork crafted into each screen really sink in.
In fact, this could've passed for a fully-fledged release if it weren't hampered by patchy animation. While it's competent throughout, there are times when its roughness rears its ugly head, revealing the realities of the game's budget. This extends to the sporadic voice acting as well. For example, whereas the performance for the lead character, Robert, is absolutely nailed, his co-star's actress regularly stumbles over her lines as if they were awkwardly taken during the rehearsals. Even at its lowest, it's far from the worst acting gamers have suffered; nonetheless, the occasionally stilted dialogue has a tendency to stifle what should've been a good laugh.
Laughs are definitely to be had though, largely from the brilliant supporting cast. The Inner World is filled with eccentric personalities whose comical quirks are thoroughly worked into their characters. They're clearly not ashamed of this, since you can continually banter over the same topics for no reason other than to hear what else they could possibly spout next. However, it's odd then for a studio that holds such respect for its influences not take to heart one of the key elements of every classic adventure game: witty, quotable repartees. Robert has funny lines, but they're usually solitary absurdities that achieves a laugh, yet fail to keep them rolling.
This is somewhat negated by Robert's interesting insights of the fascinating world around him. It's tragic then that as amazing as Asposia is, likely for budgetary reasons, we get to see so little of it! Possibly to avert attention to this, the areas we do experience are packed to the brim with numerous multi-step puzzles. These are clearly inspired by Monkey Island, with solutions that tend to make sense in their own amusingly quirky ways, but they thankfully avoid falling prey to being ridiculously obtuse. This is complimented by an intuitive hint system, which takes paced steps into prodding the player forward without spelling anything out too quickly. Nevertheless, there remain a few annoyances, such as seemingly unrelated puzzles that must be completed in a particular order to proceed, constant roadblocks that may wear players thin in long sessions, and irritating glitches.
Ultimately, despite being intermittently hampered by its modest budget, The Inner World is a charming adventure game that captures the spirit of its inspirations, albeit on a humbler scale.