Last Inua - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Last Inua

Adventure, mystery, and platforming all of these add up to a nearly spot on formula for a game that, at the very least, invites people to try it out. If there’s a story behind it, or a sense of danger that’s motivating, all the better. Last Inua mixes all  of  these  factors with charming animation that lends a more playful image to what is otherwise  a  tense gaming  experience.I happily anticipated playing it, and was left  wondering  what  else there was in store unfortunately, it was a beautiful concept that fell a little flat for me.

Glowforth Games uses Last Inua to tell the story of a father desperately searching for his son who, upon finding him, discovers that the two of them must begin a long and arduous journey in search of the Inuit gods that can save their land. Using the brute strength of Ataataq (father) and the mystical powers of Hiko (son), players adventure across the land to help those affected by The Tonrar, a trickster demon. Along the way, they encounter a variety of enemies (the Yeti are the first to threaten the pair), and must circumvent the dangers of the frozen wasteland to reach their goal. It’s kind of a great story you get to beat things up with one character while zooming around and creating magic platforms with the other, all in the kind of cold that visually affects gameplay.

Where it falls flat, for me, is in the mechanics. This was originally an iOS game, with tapping and swiping as the main actions. When you’re playing a simple platformer on a touchscreen, it’s definitely more acceptable to have some sluggish movement, as it feels weirdly natural in that situation. When you’re playing on a PC, however, pressing the space bar to jump feels like you need an immediate response, and there just isn’t one, here. That tiny bit of hesitation between button and action can create issues with problem-solving and evasion, which ends up being frustrating. The controls are as simple as they get for a PC game, yet they almost feel like using a calculator for the game’s easy addition: They both arrive at the same conclusion, but the controls are just faster, making the game look a bit rudimentary by comparison.

The graphics, however, are pretty great. The animation is perfectly suited for the story, which is mystical and fantastic, and based on imagination; it was truly a pleasure to look at, even when I found myself getting irritated at the controls. The 2-D style doesn’t take away from what is a very 3-dimensional environment, with factors that you wouldn’t normally expect in such simple design. There comes a point where the cold outside will begin to creep up around the edges of the screen. You have to reach a fire (which also serves as a checkpoint) quickly, as the ice obscures your field of view, making it progressively more difficult to navigate. When you reach the fire, the ice dissipates and you’re good to go, at least until the next time you’re traveling just a bit too slowly.

The wind howls as you make your way over obstacles, bringing with it debris and a noise that made me glad I was bundled up in a thick sweatshirt. It just sounds cold and awful, and that sort of design is excellent for making me sympathize with the characters; it pairs beautifully with the icy consequence of prolonged action. The rich cello tones brought another layer of depth. It really is a shame about the controls and general gameplay, as the sound and graphics were both so wonderful they made everything else a bit mediocre by comparison.

You must solve puzzles throughout the game, through platforming and timing, and both characters must be taken into account. This would be all well and good, but some of them are so poorly-timed as to create a false difficulty threshold, adding to my general frustration (which, of course, is exacerbated by the muddy controls). As I said, I had high hopes for this game, having covered the Greenlight campaign some months ago, but it’s not as though my disappointment is all-encompassing. There are some truly amazing things about Last Inua; the gameplay is just really unfortunate.

Last Inua can be purchased for PC and Mac on Steam for $7.99. At the very least, you’d be getting some eye candy and some great ambiance, so I don’t feel the price is unfair. Perhaps others will get more out of the gameplay than I did.

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