DOS - 1996
Description of Inner Worlds
Inner Worlds is a fun, very atmospheric shareware game that rivals Konami's classic Castlevania and features a few nice twists to the tried-and-true concept.
You play a scantily-clad Nikita, who has the astonishing ability to turn into a ferocious she-wolf. Her quest is to track down Gralob, the evil monster creation of a misguided genius which has plagued the world for generations. Gameplay will be familiar to anyone who's played side-scrolling platform games. Basically, Nikita runs, jumps and climbs in order to find health gems, spells and amulets and to fight off spiders and bats and all the usual plethora of monsters. The ability to change into a she-wolf adds a lot to the standard formula, though, since there are places where you must change into a she-wolf in order to pass, and you can't shapeshift at will since you need enough mana to do so (or enough shapeshifting potions).
Puzzle elements are also sprinkled throughout the game-- for example, sometimes you need to use "levitate" potion to get to a high ledge. The graphics are excellent, and in contrast to the "flat" 2D background of most games, Inner Worlds boasts outstanding illusion of depth, with many doorways you can enter.
With 3 very different worlds, a lot of secrets to discover, and solid gameplay, this is one platform game that will keep you up nights, and will especially please Castlevania fans. Two thumbs up, and three cheers to Sleepless Software for releasing the game as freeware after its publisher stopped carrying it :)
Review By HOTUD
Comments and reviews
ks 2019-08-28 -3 points
'Incoherent' is the word. This is more or less a masterclass in how to not make a game. I've tried to like it. Honestly. Platformers of this era were always a mixed bag, but you generally knew what you were getting into. Inner Worlds, in its effort to shake that formula up, throws crap at the wall and tapes it there, just to make sure it sticks.
It's one thing to have hidden rooms, but a random up press in a completely nondescript area of the level should never be REQUIRED for progression. Several levels throw this in there, as if it adds some kind of mystery. There's no cathartic "aha!" moment when you find the right path. Instead, you're left wondering how you were ever supposed to know it was there, beyond blind luck and the platformer equivalent of point-n-click pixel hunting.
The whole game is a mess of poorly integrated ideas. The enemies make no sense for their environments, as is the case also with background music. Things occasionally fly all over the screen, but have little real purpose. It's common to come across areas with a dozen or more of the same enemy type that are a real slog to get through. They're not tough. There are just 40 of the things you need to hit 5+ times each just to get into the room. Hidden "messages" are scattered throughout, but add nothing to the game, and really just leave you wondering why.
Controls are mushy, at best. Blind leaps into pits of (seriously) 20+ monsters, with low health and no alternative are common and will block your progress if you've saved badly. I'm looking at you, Tarc-Pit.
I've reached the last level of world two and I think I'm done. As a curiosity, it's fine enough, but I don't think I'll ever be beating this one. Not because it's impossibly hard, but because it really doesn't warrant it. If I'd paid money for this, I'd have been angry. Not hard to see why sales were poor in its run.
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