by Thomas Mikkelsen
reviewed on PC
To Be A King
Back in 2013, The Inner World took the point-and-click scene by storm. Published by Headup Games and developed by Studio Fizbin, the game featured a flute-nose called Robert who grows up as the adopted son and manservant of the powerful wind monk, Conroy. Flute-noses are second class citizens and anyone who opposes Conroy’s rule is visited by a flying basilisk who turns them to stone with its laser eyes. Conroy is considered the saviour of Asposia and protector of the righteous from the basilisks, who are agents of the wind gods.
Through clever ingenuity and copious amounts of luck, Robert uncovers the fact that Conroy himself is controlling the mechanical basilisks. Robert ends up defeating Conroy, turning him to stone in an act of poetic justice. The statue, however, falls over and Conroy breaks into pieces. Robert then finds out that he is the king of the Inner World by birthright. Having grown up as a servant and an adopted emotional punching bag of Conroy’s, this news is quite overwhelming.
The Last Wind Monk, which sees Kalypso join Headup Games as co-publishers, begins with Robert literally petrified in the woods, having run away from the prospect of ruling, tripped over a basilisk, and accidentally turned himself to stone. Three years pass and Conroy’s loyalists have managed to spin Conroy’s demise as an evil plot of the flute-noses against ordinary Asposians. Robert’s trusty pigeon, Peck, has stayed with him this whole time and the game’s first puzzle involves bringing Robert back by replacing the basilisk’s eyes and turning it on him. Not long after, you are reconnected with Laura - Robert’s … girlfriend..? - who has been captured by Emil, the leader of the Conroyalists.
Missing The Point
The gameplay follows the standard point-and-click formula with a menu opening up when you click on interactive objects in the scene, showing you the available options for that item, and holding down the mouse button highlights the interactive objects in the scene. Since Peck can only pick things up or peck at them, he’ll fly around the areas that are out of reach to Robert and Laura collecting items for them to then combine and use in the scene. Robert and Laura have a good rapport and Laura’s crass confidence nicely complements Robert’s weak insecurity.
The original was a hit among point-and-click fans and I expected nothing less of The Last Wind Monk. Visually, the game retains its charismatic cartoony aesthetics and the music is great, but there is something missing in the voice acting and the story. The voice acting is devoid of emotion and the animations sometimes differ in tone to that of the delivery. The twist of Robert having run away and accidentally turned himself to stone, while in line with his clumsy, awkward character, feels tacked on to explain his absence and the story fails to adequately grip you from the get-go. The puzzle design is charming and challenging, but due to the failure to hook me, I lacked motivation to invest my full attention in their completion.
While the game is a pleasure to play, it pales in comparison to its predecessor in feel. For some reason, I’m not feeling the same emotional bond with Robert and the mystery of the world fails to tickle my fancy. The voice acting could have been better directed and it would have been nice to be able to interrupt actions after having clicked on something instead of having to watch the character walk all the way to the object just to click through the ensuing VO to get out of it faster. If you didn’t feel you got enough of Asposia from The Inner World or are just aching to reconnect with Robert and Laura, get The Last Wind Monk. If not, let the original stand on its own.
Revisit Asposia, splendid music, Iinteresting puzzles.
Story fails to grip, lacklustre voice acting.