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Review

Aspire: Ina’s Tale (Switch) Review

A young girl awakens in a strange tower. There’s an eerie strangeness about this unknown place, and while Ina doesn’t know how she’ll get out she pushes forward with absolution. Aspire: Ina’s Tale tells the story of a girl with mysterious abilities and her wondrous journey of escape from this towering structure. Developed by Wondernaut Studio, the game is a superb platformer, with tight controls and enjoyable puzzles along the way.

Aspire: Ina‚Äôs Tale has been touted as Limbo meets GRIS, but personally I was reminded most of a game I played over and over upon its release in 2012 – the indie adventure classic Journey. The purposefully vague, yet epic quest. The vast environments and ancient technologies glowing as they‚Äôre reactivated after years dormant. Hopping over crevasses and sliding down steep slopes. Even Ina’s pointy legs sticking out the bottom of her flowing dress. And although Aspire: Ina‚Äôs Tale isn‚Äôt a 3D platformer like Journey, it hit all the same notes for me, right until the final moments of Ina‚Äôs subtly delivered pilgrimage.


Like those games before it, Aspire: Ina’s Tale is driven by its excellent art style. You’ll explore a number of visually distinct levels, from dusty techno-ruins to sun-soaked temples. The reflections and lighting is gorgeous too, with a few of the crystal-filled rooms being particularly eye-catching. There’s no HUD either, meaning more room for the graceful scenery. As you play, you’ll run into a few of the other peculiar denizens unfortunate enough to call the tower home. Ina and these characters are all charming and well-designed, and though some animations are occasionally on the janky side it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

While there are a couple of baddies lurking, gravity and puzzles are your true foes. You’ll be putting your brain and brawn to the test as you jump about pushing boxes, pulling levers and utilising Ina’s unique abilities. Clearing a tricky puzzle with what few tools you have at your disposal is real rewarding, as is completing a level and being gifted a brand-new power.

Though, at times it does feel perhaps Wondernaut Studio favoured the vibrant art style over core game design. I enjoy trial-and-error problem solving as much as the next guy, but a bunch of these puzzles seemed to have far from obvious solutions, and for the wrong reasons. Oftentimes levers and the like weren’t discernible from the backdrop and the game became a scavenger hunt. At one point I even resorted to jumping online and let out a loud sigh upon seeing for myself what could have been a straightforward solution. And while this area looked terrific the puzzle itself fell by the wayside.

Aspire: Ina’s Tale still leaves an outstanding impression. Traversing the big ol’ tower and solving puzzles with Ina was satisfying despite a few tricky hiccups. The brilliant art style is the absolute star of the show, however. Aspire: Ina’s Tale is a game with striking visuals that’ll keep you agasp through its entirety.

Rating: 4/5

The Good

+ Breathtaking visuals all round
+ Tight controls and challenging puzzles
+ A quaint story with a quirky cast of characters

The Bad

- The occasionally janky animation
- Puzzles that take a backseat to the art style

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Aspire: Ina’s Tale still leaves an outstanding impression. Traversing the big ol’ tower and solving puzzles with Ina was satisfying despite a few tricky hiccups. The brilliant art style is the absolute star of the show, however. Aspire: Ina’s Tale is a game with striking visuals that’ll keep you agasp through its entirety.

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About The Author
Sam Williams
Longtime Nintendo and Vooks enthusiast turned contributor. Full-time funny guy.

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