I don't think I've played a point-and-click adventure with such an inventive fantasy world since Rincewind and his walking suitcase roamed the streets of Discworld's Ankh-Morpork.
German game The Inner World takes place in Asposia, a nation inside the hollow tummy of a rocky planet. Asposia was once powered by sharp breezes that enter through a trio of wind fountains. Now, the wind has stopped, sending Asposia into crisis.
This is a fairytale land of tumble mice, wooloofs, and deadly gorfs. A place where terrifying multi-coloured reptiles called Basylians turn the residents into stone statues. A place ruled by a cruel wind monk named Conroy.
You play as Robert, Conroy's court musician. He's a sweet and innocent boy who has been sheltered from the outside world, leaving him naïve and honest to a fault.
But Robert is, of course, soon dumped into the real world and forced to fend for himself. And what starts as a simple mission to retrieve a stolen locket turns into a dramatic mission to save the world of Asposia, and a cute coming-of-age story.
The writing is funny, imaginative, full of character, and brimming with charm. Some conversations, however, are achingly long. And the translation from German to English is mostly successful, though there are a few errors and grammar flubs here and there.
The voice actors are also a mixed bag. The main characters - like growling grump Conroy, a plucky rebel named Laura, and the hopelessly optimistic scamp Robert - sound great, but a few of the extras spoil the mood. Some lines are read with the wrong intonation, too.
Puzzle it out
The Inner World is a very traditional point-and-clicker, so you can expect some truly bizarre and obtuse puzzles. These manic leaps of logic are the sort of conundrums that can only exist in a video game world. But they're well designed.
These are complicated multi-step riddles, but it's always made obvious why you should want to go through the incredible faff of pilfering or bartering for an object. And subtle hints in dialogue and description nudge you in the right direction without spoiling the solution.
And while this is no small game - it's some six or seven hours long, with loads of locations to visit - you are regularly penned into a handful of screens so you don't have to walk far to find all the necessary bits to solve the puzzle at hand.
If you do get stuck, The Inner World contains a hint system, and the developer is careful to only hint at, not spoil, the various head scratchers at hand.
The Inner World is a creative game, with funny writing and barmy fairytale characters. And its smart, tightly constructed puzzles will appeal to fans of old school point-and-click adventures from the 1990s.
But it's let down by disappointing technical issues (the game doesn't seem to work on iPhone 5, and I lost an early save game), annoyingly overlong dialogue, and some wonky voice acting.