|Platform Reviewed||IBM PC Shareware (For Windows only)|
|Genre||Scrolling Overhead Shoot and Collect|
|Number of Players||1 (A network version is in the works)|
|Length||Moderate to Very Long (depends on the number of icons on your hard drive!)|
|Difficulty||Easy to Moderate|
|Skills Required||Observation (collection), Twitch (shooting and steering)|
|Interface Devices||Joystick, Mouse, Keyboard|
|Interface Design||Good. Joystick could be improved somewhat|
|Programming||Fair to Good. Some little bugs, nothing fatal.|
|Game Design and Playability||Clever design, minor depth, fun and addictive|
|Type Of Fun||Collecting and Shooting|
|Overall Value||Good to Very Good|
|The Best||It is clever, fun, and easy to play. There is some depth and strategy. The voice-overs rule.|
|The Worst||The graphics could use a bit of help, some minor bugs.|
|How much would I be willing to pay for this||25 bucks|
Inner Space is an simple overhead shooting game derivative of Space War, Star Control, and other such games. The player pilots a small ship about a frictionless space blasting enemies and collecting iconic items. Some strategy is required with regard to upgrading the ship, and choosing who to help and who to harm, the game responds to the player's choices.
Computer viruses have invaded the player's windows desktop icons, and the player must pilot a ship through the starry 'inner spaces' of the computer to clean them out.
Inner Space is a remarkably clever little game, suitable for all ages and skill levels. The idea of incorporating the icons associated with files into a playable game, creating game levels out of directories and applications, is simply brilliant. While the gameplay is fairly standard shoot and collect, the addition of social relationships between various cyberspacial teams makes the game deeper than average for the genre. Also the fact that the game adjusts it's violence level to the actions of the player is the type of interactivity that more game designers should emulate. I have been screaming about the concept for years, it is pleasing to see someone actually do it.
The overall effort on Inner Space shows both love and heart. The creators gave a damn about what they were making, something which shows in every aspect of the game. While not at the programming or artistic level of more corporate professional works, this is the kind of game that wins with sheer spunk. This is the work of little, independent game creators, trying to be professional and innovative within a worn genre. Best known for the After Dark screen savers, Software Dynamics programmers have won me over with their determination to make a game.
This is no Quake, or Final Fantasy. It doesn't try to be. It is a fun, addictive little game that will tailor itself to your style of play, it could be utterly non-violent, or a constant blast fest, according to your actions. It even provides an editor to create your own ships, a feature I applaud. I recommend Inner Space with only the most minor of reservations, in that it could be tweaked a bit and bettered. For one, I would require that a single interface handle all functions once selected, rather than having to split attention twixt keyboard and joystick, for instance. I would add an option for the joystick to work the same way as the keyboard (frictionless thrusting movement ala Space War), and I would definitely perk up the graphics. The sound code sometimes seems to glitch. But kudos to the womyn that did the voice-overs, her sultry, suggestive voice has a strikingly professional sound.
This is fine work, for what it is. Inner Space is a wonderful, simplistic little time waster. It is inexpensive, lovingly made, enjoyable, and unpretentious. It is the little game that could. Quite simply, it is gentle fun.
Jennifer Diane Reitz is a Game Designer and Computer Artist, and one of the founders of Happy Puppy. She is the creator of numerous games and software products, including Boppin' , Shark Chums, Elsewhere, and many others. She has worked for such companies as Activision, Sculptured Software, Epyx, SRI, and Electronic Arts, and founded Accursed Toys. She has been active in the computer gaming industry since it's earliest days. She considers games to be works of artistic merit and achievement, and views computer entertainment as the most important media of our era.