The Inner World / The Last Wind Monk

There’s a graphical IF game I bought as a physical disc for PS4, but it’s available on Steam and other platforms. The Inner World, and its sequel (three years later) The Last Wind Monk.

This is on my list of games from the past decade that were great IF, that I wanted to remember to say something about. I think the original design team was German, but the game I played had a full English translation with a great cast of voice actors.

I like this pair of games so much they’re in my top ten for the past decade, but replaying over the weekend, I had some quibbles that I want to make a major deal out of. They play as a story, chunked into sections of IF gameplay. And clearly made by fans of making puzzle-based stories since they were 12 years old, and now they’re doing a good game, and then doing a good sequel, but I had more quibbles with parts of the second half.

When I say I had quibbles, I mean that I raged about finding a blowpipe, which I know they thought they justified by having a race of blowpipe-blowing aliens later on, so that’s why you find a blowpipe. And a flag, which is a random type thing, but the entire series is based on eventually learning that the main player character (the user plays several, with a switch-who-I’m-Playing mechanic that I approve of, because once it’s introduced, you can go however – and then the replies you get from interacting teach you to scale down your expectations. I think that’s a totally legit way to author a player’s expectations. Let 'em start broad, and then go, well, ok) can manipulate the currents of wind.

The main player character can manipulate the currents of wind, in a charming game that works really well, and is really story-based. My quibbles are actually about how much IF-faffing-around happens later on, to make the sequel padded out enough with puzzles, while they really have me hooked with the story. You have a blowpipe, and a flag. A blowpipe that you’ll blow a dart into a guy, and a flag that you’ll take the windspeed or lack of wind? maybe. I’m all set for these to happen in the story.

I become enraged at IF, graphical or text, when you are just writing a puzzle, and I’m supposed to intuit what was on the whiteboard in the planning room. The blowpipe is used as a wooden dowel rod, so I would have preferred it be introduced as a wooden dowel rod, so that I start thinking about how a wooden rod will be potentially used, not how I might use a blowpipe to disable someone after I fashion a neutralizing dart later on after this part. No, use as a wooden dowel in THIS part. The flag is … technically part of your wind power. But you will never guess, and that’s the problem, it’s not even in my head, that these would combine. Ok, so we try every object on every other one, and brute force it? They’ve got two or more voice actors chiding you, that you’re just guessing. Well, yes, I am. Thank you for spanking me for doing what is required in a puzzle based game, trying things.

I particularly hate games that have the budget for voice acting, chiding me for TRYING IDEAS.

And that’s what I mean by quibbles. I have more positive things to say than negative, but I just hate the negatives so much I have to yell.

There is a beautiful story here about a main character who is gentle and innocent, and misguided, but learns as we navigate him through a pretty interesting story with some heft to it, when I think about it. I don’t know whether this is the venue to highlight graphical-if stories that have been told in the past decade, but I would like to let people know, I personally enjoyed even with micro aggravations, The Inner World, The Last Wind Monk, as a pair of games from

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