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Eliwood8

The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk Review

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881650900_InnerWorldLastMonklogo.png.87323d2646772384f8b2834276b361d5.pngOriginally released in 2017, four years after the first game, The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk from developer Studio Fizbin and publisher Headup Games brings players back to the land of Asposia where, despite Robert's heroic feats in the first game, a new danger threatens to unravel Asposian society. With new elaborate puzzles, detailed environments, and of course plenty of humor, The Last Wind Monk provides a satisfying follow-up for the point-and-click adventure fans of the first game.
 
The Last Wind Monk picks up three years after the first game, and even after Robert's heroic efforts, all is not well in Asposia. Although Robert successfully overthrew the former tyrannical ruler, the despot's supporters insist on reinstating him and paint Robert as an enemy of the state. Now Robert and Laura need the help of the last wind monk to save Asposia once again. The Last Wind Monk benefits from a stronger overarching plot—the first game had plenty of charming scenes but the first half of the game didn't have a very urgent mission. This game, however, starts off with a more serious goal right off the bat, and with established characters too. The game's political message is also rather timely for today's society. But that's not to say The Last Wind Monk is all serious business. The writing has the same blend of humor and charm as the first game, bringing the strange world of Asposia to life.
 
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This game retains all of the adventure game point-and-click mechanics of the first: in each area of the game you're going to explore, examine everything on screen, pick up items, and use them to solve puzzles. But while the first game was a bit more forgiving with its puzzle design, The Last Wind Monk ratchets up the difficulty with more elaborate puzzles. On the one hand, elaborate puzzles can be a lot of fun—they're more engaging and more rewarding once you figure out the solution, and there is also a character swapping mechanic in this game which gives even more variety to how you approach puzzles. On the other hand though, this game slips into that frustrating territory so many adventure games do: ridiculous puzzle solutions. There are far more puzzles in The Last Wind Monk that seem to necessitate just trial and error gameplay because there's little logic behind the solution, or at the very least only obscure hints. The environments in general are just bigger in this game as well, which makes experimentation a little more difficult. It's great that The Last Wind Monk ups the ante for players already familiar with the first game's brand of puzzle solving, but it might have been a step too far. Thankfully though the game still has the step-by-step hint system, so at least when you get stuck, the game can nudge you in the right direction.
 

One of the bigger annoyances of the first game has been addressed—at least somewhat. The controls remain a bit clunky when you're playing with a controller since it's awkward to select objects to examine and scroll through them. However, if you play in handheld mode you can use the Switch's touch screen which is so much more convenient for quickly looking around and using/combining items. It's still possible to miss noticing what you can interact with but at least it's easier to select items and points of interest.

 

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The visuals and audio in the game are much the same as its predecessor—quirky character design in a fantastical world full of bizarre creatures and environments. It does feel like The Last Wind Monk is bigger and more refined than the first game though. As mentioned the environments are a bit bigger and more elaborate, meaning the puzzles are more challenging but also that there are more fun details to spot as you play. And the choppy animation of the first game, while distinctive in its own way, has been smoothed out here so the visuals seem to flow a bit better. On the downside loading times seem noticeably longer, which is especially unfortunate given how every region of the game is made up of several screens, necessitating a lot of load time as you frequently move between screens. The music, meanwhile, is largely the same in variety and quality as the first game: a decent soundtrack, but overshadowed by the variety of charming voice acting, from Robert and Laura to the various weird characters you meet along the journey.
 
The Last Wind Monk is a bit longer than the first game, and as mentioned the puzzles are distinctly more elaborate and challenging, so you'll probably spend more time trying to figure things out. And once again there isn't much replay incentive since it's an adventure/puzzle game, but fans of the genre will still feel like they've gotten their money's worth here.
 
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The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk offers only a few new frills on top of the classic point-and-click adventure gameplay of the first game, but for fans of the quirky characters and humor of Asposia it should still offer a satisfying sequel. Although some of the new, more complex puzzles drift into frustrating territory, the built-in hint system means you're never completely without a lifeline should you find yourself completely stuck, and the touch screen controls while playing undocked is a welcome addition. If you haven't had your fill of Robert and the flute noses after the first game, The Last Wind Monk offers another charming dip into the strange but endearing universe of The Inner World.
 
Rating: 8 out of 10 Monks
 
Review copy provided by the publisher
 
The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk is available now on the Switch eShop for $14.99.

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