Coming off of 2013's release of The Inner World is its follow up, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk. Studio Fizbin's first release was a grand adventure that followed Robert and Laura through a strange city. Point and click puzzles led the way in telling the story of their city's strange history. Now, with their sequel, Studio Fizbin has taken a much darker and twisted approach to the narrative within The Last Wind Monk, with great results.
This hand-drawn point and click game leads the player on an adventure with Robert, Laura and Peck the pigeon. As in the first game, the story still takes place within the underground world of Asposia. With Conroy gone, the citizens place blame on the flute noses and are committing genocide at the call of - self-proclaimed head loyalist - Emil. Through a random vision, Robert teams up with his kind of girlfriend Laura and they embark to clear the name of all flute noses and save Asposia from itself by finding the last wind monk.
While the game can be completed in about two and a half hours, it has an extremely deep and impactful narrative that goes beyond simple point and click games. Although I didn't find it exciting, I would say that it made me think a lot more than the first one did. Emil, the antagonist, is a dictator that took control of the city and built up a movement because the citizens of Asposia don't know how to think for themselves after the loss of Conroy. This reminded me of many dictators and harsh political figures throughout history, mainly Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Regime.
A new function that helped expand the story to different angles was being able to switch between the three main characters while they were in close proximity. This added function added some fun to the game, but my only complaint is that the controls to do this gets confusing. Depending on if you are playing the Switch in handheld mode or with a Pro Controller, the input will be different between the two. This was annoying, as I was having a hard time switching between characters on the controller, while I was able to do so with ease using handheld mode.
Continuing on with controls, a lot of them are the same as the first game. There is a hint button that I never used, and beyond the addition of switching characters, nothing has changed. I might add that, at times, using the Pro Controller was a lot harder than using the Switch in handheld mode. While the buttons all seemed to have the same inputs, it was almost as if they didn't function the same. Playing The Last Wind Monk was more enjoyable and easier in handheld mode.
Controls aside, this time around, there are a lot more characters to talk to in The Last Wind Monk. More citizens were featured, along with fellow flute noses. Some characters from the first game make an appearance which was nice to see, since three to four years have passed between the first game and this one. Now, as for being able to play as either Robert, Laura and Peck, that was interesting. They all function the same, but have different sayings or actions if they can't do something. Peck was my favorite to play as because of his little head shake when he couldn't perform an action. For Laura, there wasn't anything that expanded on Laura's backstory, since much of that happened in the first game. Playing as her though, it was easy to see that she was passionate about showing Emil and his followers that the flute noses were innocent and not harmful. Now, even though you can play as three different characters as certain portions, Robert's journey is still the main focus. He's running away from what scares him, but takes on the task of trying to bring the city together and open their eyes to the evil of Emil and Conroy.
A main focus of the game would have to be on the artwork. The hand-drawn scenes made the game stand out. The color palette is very neutral, but it fits the setting and the story. While it was a simplistic style, it wasn't boring or dull. I found the art one of the main reasons as to why I wanted to play the game, besides the story. Also, the artwork seemed a lot more polished and clean compared to what I saw when playing the first game.
The only downside I found in The Last Wind Monk was that it wasn't straightforward, and if you haven't played the first game, you will be lost. Parts of the first game are mentioned in The Last Wind Monk, but if you haven't played the first, you will be left in the dark on a lot. Looking at some of the scenes, I was stumped on what I should do or if I should combine items or not. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the puzzles are extremely hard, but they do require some thought and imagination. Even so, I'd say not to get too frustrated over the puzzles. Walkthroughs are easy to find and the hint button is always an option.
All in all, I'd say The Last Wind Monk is a pretty solid game. The story is extremely interesting and the characters are fun to play as. While the controls can be funky, the artwork is beautiful and makes every minute playing the game worth it. If you are looking for something quick and different to play, grab a copy of The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk.
Haley reviewed The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.