Inner Voices: Game Review
Developer: Sigma Games
Publisher: Fat Dog Games
Release Date: May 10th 2017
Reviewed on: PC
Inner Voices is a non-linear, story-driven psychological horror game with rogue-like elements that delves deep into the Lovecraftian-inspired world as well as the psyche of John Blake. John is thrusted into a sinister world where the memories he’s lost will be the key to helping him not only escape this world but to find out who he is. Not all is what it seems and not everyone is who they say they are. The farther you go, the more you find out about John, our protagonist, David the omnipresent being guiding John toward the truth and Dominica, John’s beloved wife. There are five different endings, giving the players a variety of conclusions to the story. The game is based on the actions of the players and the paths they take throughout.
John Blake as a character is interesting. In the game we have three characters; John Blake, Dominica Blake, and David. What we know about John Blake is that he is a war veteran, father, orphan and husband who’s trapped in a forever dark and looming labyrinth of rooms and doors all connecting to his past. Players will come to sympathize with John Blake as a character. He’s confused and angry and that’s understandable. Dominica, on the other hand, is kind of like a second conscious or a third. She hangs around John, just like David, commenting as well as speaking with John. She doesn’t have much of an influence when it comes to John’s actions, not as much as David does. Is David a supporting character or the antagonist? That’s the question John must find an answer to. Players will see that John is a very well-developed character with an intriguing backstory. David is also an interesting character. Players will either dislike or like the secondary characters.
The controls are fairly simple. WASD keys are to move around and so forth. There are so many items that you can interact with, which is interesting. You can pick up a can as well as barrels and chairs. You cannot run as there is no chase sequences like other horror games but you can jump and crouch. For weaker computers, it’s highly recommended using low settings. Movement is smooth but players on weaker computers will find lifting objects to be a bit of a challenge as well as a frustrating factor.
An interesting feature within the game is the menu room; a place you go to not only read notes but also see how many runes you’ve collected, save game via a typewriter, reset your game settings via opening the safe and check out the objectives, as well as his thoughts, in the book. Players will enjoy this aspect of the game as it is a room of its own. In order to get to the menu, you’ll have to click ESC. Players will have a sense of safety in this small confine of a room and a break from the dark, changing landscape of the underworld. As for the rest of the rooms throughout the game, they are randomized and can be seen as both an interesting and frustrating part of the game. Players will end up in the same room more than once as well as encountering the same puzzles and monsters over again. There will be times you will feel like you are wandering around, almost verging on frustration but there is a strategy to these rooms.
There isn’t a health meter like other horror games. You don’t technically die but you will be penalized for it. You emerge in this small place called Escape Room in which you must do that; escape the room in order to continue on your adventure. The more you die, the smaller the room becomes. This is an interesting feature as well as unique in a sense, many gamers haven’t actually encountered something like this. The escape room isn’t the only puzzle you have to solve.
You are moving through a dark and ever-changing corridors and rooms finding runes and notes that will help you progress through the story and game. These runes and notes are scattered throughout the game and can appear after completing a mission or solving a puzzle. There are times where you do encounter the same puzzle more than one as well as the same rooms. The puzzles within the game, players will find to be enjoyable yet relatively easy, maybe a little bit too easy. Some puzzles consisted of reconstructing a teddy bear as well as using boxes or lamps on weighted plates.
Another interesting mechanic is the option of turning on or off the horror mode. This came about during their last update to the game. This mechanic works. The atmosphere of the game will leave players terrified and on the edge of their seats but it lacks in the horror aspect as not many monsters do come out. The monsters that do appear are a petrifying sight and gives you a great jump scare. One would see that the focus was on creating a story and atmosphere. The ambient music, the dark halls and rooms, and creepy items, i.e. teddy bears and dolls, giant statues, and bloody stretchers, make for a terrifying experience.
Inner Voices is a non-linear, atmospheric, story-driven horror game that players will enjoy. Players will also enjoy an fascinating story that can pull at their heartstrings as well as understand a well-developed and interesting character that’s driven through the dark, abysmal depths of the underworld in order to find the truth about himself and his past.
Currently, the game is on sale until July 5th. I also want to point out that there was an update to the game, as of June 22nd, that addressed the problems players were having, i.e. game mechanics, visuals, and stability. They’ve also added some new features to the game like more riddles as well as adjusting the scare factor of the game.
- Non-linear Gameplay
- Interesting Story
- Dark Atmosphere
- Doesn’t overuse jump scares
- The randomization of rooms can get tiring
- Loading screens sometimes are slow on weaker PCs
- Not many monsters