The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 24.10.2018

Review for The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk on Nintendo Switch

Robert and Laura, the Asposians, are back for another round in the sequel to The Inner World, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk. The original impressed with its visuals and overall atmosphere that was truly magical. The in-game universe had aesthetics very reminiscent of the Layton games, or that could even be likened to some Ghibli movies for that matter, so to see the fictional universe revisited in a second game was an enticing proposition. A few faults were to be found in the prequel, however, that did get slightly in the way of the experience, so hopes were high going into the sequel that those would be addressed this time around, even though it felt like these being games ported from older platforms, those should have been fixed in the porting process. Nevertheless, it is time to dive back into the world of Asposia.

The world of Asposia is a hollow sphere surrounded by nothing but dirt in which air flows in through the wind fountains, which legend says house the wind gods, the Basylians. This world is inhabited by Asposians, of which the hero of both games, Robert, was the only one to have a flute-nose at the start of the story of The Inner World. Now, it would be hard to go in any further detail about The Last Wind Monk without spoiling any of the plot details that happen towards the end of the previous one because this builds very heavily upon those events. For that reason, it is also not recommended to dive into this one without having cleared the previous one, unless anyone has no intention of playing the first game. This does a good job of summing things up at the beginning for newcomers, yet some details on the relationships between the characters may not resonate in the same way.

What can be said, however, is that The Last Wind Monk explores more of the world of Asposia, diving more into locations and details of the inner workings of this peculiar fictional society that may well be considered more interesting overall than the events of the first game. The first one laid down a solid foundation and this one, like any good sequel should, builds on that, and expands it further brilliantly. In how it plays, it is overall a very similar experience on offer here that further expands the story but actually manages to best the original in several ways. One such example is that now, not only the story switches playable characters in-between chapters, but now certain chapters actually let the player take control of multiple characters at the same time, switching between them on the fly.

Screenshot for The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk on Nintendo Switch

Robert and Laura are both back, but now Peck the thieving pigeon from the first game is also playable. This all opens up possibilities for more complex puzzles drastically, in addition to the new locations being now comparatively denser than before. However, more possibilities also means that the solution to puzzles tend to not be quite as obvious as before. Each chapter is not much more vast than before, limited to just a handful of screens at most each time, but simply because the amount of interactive elements is higher and each character has different abilities to interact with those, too, this means that the player has to spend more time looking for the solution to a particularly complex puzzle. Needless to say, the hint system, still accessible via the ZL button, proves useful more often here.

There were some criticisms levelled towards the previous title in terms of gameplay and also a little towards the sound execution and video quality. All of these issues are fortunately addressed in the sequel. Part of the issues with the other game pertained to the absence of touch-screen or even pointer controls. While this one still doesn't have any pointer controls for docked play, which means the player has to make do with the L and R buttons again to point at automatically selected interactive elements of the scenery, at least handheld mode supports touch-screen inputs this time. While the game cannot be controlled straight from a cold boot through the touch-screen, as it seems that physical controls need to be present and detected first, one could easily take off the Joy-Con, put the console in sleep mode to turn them off, and then enjoy the game on the tablet part of the system alone.

Screenshot for The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk on Nintendo Switch

In fact, it plays most beautifully that way. This game being available on Android and iOS, it makes sense that the Switch version would be compatible with touch-screen inputs ported over from those platforms, but that wasn't the case with the Switch version of the previous episode, so there was concern there on that front. There are a few times, though, where closing a menu with the touch-screen is a bit tough to accomplish because the arrow is too small, but that doesn't happen too often. People with large fingers may experience this more often, though, but overall touch-screen controls really are a game changer. Touch-screen controls also make selecting topics of conversation even easier because, now, since no speech option is highlighted until one is touched, it is now easier than before to spot topics of conversation that have already been exhausted, but the icons themselves, and not just their background, is fully greyed out now for more clarity, so there's another issue fixed.

Furthermore, the original was praised for its graphics, but admittedly the cut-scenes had choppy animations and displayed some grainy compression artefacts, hinting that they were not rendered using the actual game engine. This time around, not only are the cut-scenes animated just as well as the rest of the game, but they do seem to be made entirely in-engine, too, which avoids this discrepancy in presentation quality otherwise displayed in those instances. It is understandable that some issues, such as poorer animation at times of video compression from the original, were harder to rectify during the porting process to Switch, from all the other platforms that it had been released on up to that point, since that would have required a deep reworking of the assets.

Screenshot for The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk on Nintendo Switch

Seeing how so much better the sequel is to play, however, just from the inclusion of touch-screen controls, makes it hard to imagine why the team didn't spend a bit more time implementing the same controls in the original. Then, there were instances of the background music not looping properly before, leading to mostly silent scenes, and this never happens here in the sequel, which means that pretty much every issue with the original is now gone.

It is tough to recommend playing only the sequel because it is the better game, since it continues the story from the previous game. The previous one was certainly not a bad title, in fact it was very good, but it had its issues. This sequel, on the other hand, doesn't really have any prominent issues at all beyond the absence of pointer controls in docked mode and something that is not really an issue in the fact that it is a harder adventure overall, but which may weigh in the balance depending on people's tastes. Therefore, if anyone wants to pick up only one of the two, the sequel is definitely the better one, but to get the best experience overall, it's best to play them both and in the right order for aforementioned spoilers during the introduction. Either way, it is definitely worth picking up and especially since, despite a slightly higher price on the eShop, it still offers one of the best values anyone could get from a point-and-click game on Switch with plenty of content for the price. One minor point of contention, however, are the load times, which do prove quite lengthy, just as they did in the previous instalment, and tend to make travelling between locations for puzzle solving a slower paced affair than it needed to be.

Screenshot for The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Aside from the absence of proper pointer controls in docked mode, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk takes everything that was good about the first game, improves on all the things that were not quite as good, and still delivers the same magical universe but expanded upon, then served in a more swift and reactive way than previously. What this means is that while the previous title was a point-and-click title with a charming universe well worth checking out, this one elevates itself above that by fixing what needed to be fixed and manages to offer quite an exquisite experience overall that keeps the player hooked thanks to the sum of all of its qualities.

Developer

Studio Fizbin

Publisher

Headup

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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