When it comes to adventure games there has to be a balance between good puzzle design and an interesting story to keep you hooked. If that balance favours one over the other then you’re not sure what you’re getting. Either the game will have an excellent story but poor puzzles, which people may push through to get to the conclusion, or there’s some well designed puzzles wrapped in a bland narrative. The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk falls into the latter category.
The story of The Last Wind Monk is actually pretty bleak, with a subject matter that isn’t really suited to humour. A character named Emil is planning to restore the former dictator Conroy to power, blaming Conroy’s downfall on a section of society dubbed flute noses, a people who can make music through their noses. Emil therefore puts into action a campaign to purge the flute noses. The only people who can stop this genocide from happening are the displaced King of Asposia and main character Robert, along with his companions Peck the pigeon and Laura as his love interest.
With The Last Wind Monk being positioned as a humourous adventure game, you’d think the main characters would at least come across as funny or charming but none of them do. Robert is portrayed as a coward for much of the adventure, and instead of growing to like him, his whining gets really rather grating. It doesn’t help that his voice has been purposefully designed to accentuate his main character flaw.
Generally the voice acting within The Last Wind Monk could be better. Conversational tones seem to clash at various stages, and at the delivery sometimes just sounds like it is just being read from the page. Some of the more minor characters seem to have had the talents of the actors applied to them instead. There was never a moment in the actually story that really hooked me in, making it hard to invest in or care for the characters on screen.
While the story needs work, the puzzles fare a bit better. They are well designed, though they can require quite a bit of thinking time in certain situations. In each of the game’s six chapters there are a few different areas to explore in which you’ll find items required to solve the puzzles. Areas of interest can be highlighted to show exactly what the characters can interact with and if you do find yourself getting stuck there is an in-depth hint system that will point you in the right direction.
While the majority of puzzles were designed well enough to figure out, a few did seem needlessly stretched out, adding steps that seemed to have been put in place to make the game longer instead of being logically sound. It was at these points when the guide system came in handy, allowing progress past the more frustrating scenarios. I feel the game could also have been a bit better to control, and pressing the shoulder buttons to scroll through items on screen felt like a chore.
The game’s visual design for the environments does look good and the character designs are quite unique due to each individual having their own stripe patterns on noses and limbs. The Last Wind Monk provides a colourful world and some of its scenarios are well done with the design of a particular station standing out as quite ingenius.
The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk is far from being a bad adventure, game but it is nowhere near as good as some other recent releases. Neither the story or the characters really grab you, and some main characters even become unlikable. One of the few saving graces are the puzzle designs themselves which are put together really well. The balance is skewed toward the puzzles, while the story it is wrapped in becoming quite a forgettable and a boring affair at times.
Version tested: PlayStation 4